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IBM Inks U.K. Networking Deal

Adding another financial services giant to its customer list, IBM said it has won a seven-year IT outsourcing contract from banking firm Lloyds TSB worth nearly $971 million.

Unlike the fickle PC business that IBM is maneuvering to exit, today's deal requires a high degree of expertise and locks in revenues over several years.

The London-based banking company's new infrastructure will be rolled out over the next 20 months and feature a single network for voice, data and video with direct links to mobile and call center services.

The implementation includes nearly 70,000 Voice over IP telephones, making it one of the largest ever in Europe, IBM said.

"IBM has a lot of experience with VoIP installations for customers around the world and also for IBM," Kimberly Assalone, a spokeswoman for IBM, told internetnews.com.

She cited a recent contract from Dow Chemical to deploy an IP network that will handle voice, data, fax and call center operations as another example of the company's foray into converged networks.

Other companies participating in Lloyds' upgrade include Vanco, a global virtual network operator, and Vtesse Networks, a gigabit optical networking provider.

Lloyds was an existing IBM customer for desktop services and other projects, Assalone said. It joins other financial services customers, including America Express, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Equifax on the IBM roster.

The IBM-Lloyds project is the second major corporate VoIP announcement in as many weeks. BT recently said it would VoIP-enable 10,000 call center agents across Europe.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM competes with EDS and HP for large-scale, long-term IT projects.