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AT&T Wins Multi-Million Networking Contract

Over the next three years, Huntsman will pay AT&T $9 million to standardize and manage its voice and data networks -- a move that will allow the chemical manufacturing giant to better integrate takeovers.

The deal extends a previous contract between the companies. It also expands the scope, snatching some business away from rival service providers, AT&T spokesman Michael Cuno told internetnews.com. He declined to say which competitors.

It's no small job. Huntsman is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has 13,000 employees working in five business units operating in 44 countries.

"By migrating to a single supplier we gain a standardized global communications platform which reduces costs and supports our growth-through-acquisition business model," said Ian Machin, who chairs Huntsman's IT committee.

AT&T will provide the following services: connectivity using Internet protocol virtual private network technology; hosting; managed security; off-site corporate dial-up; managed networking through router services; and domestsic and international data and voice.

Additionally, AT&T's IP VPN technology enables disaster recovery capabilities by providing a common communications platform that links Huntsman's servers and the Bedminster, N.J., carrier's data centers.

"(Huntsman's) leadership wants to focus on their core business and depend on a select cadre of global strategic suppliers to support them in the non-core areas," said Christopher Rooney, head of AT&T business sales. "It's a textbook approach to a global managed solution."

The competition for managed services is intense. In recent months, Lucent Technologies has pushed into the sector, saying its experience building networking equipment has prepared it to design, integrate and manage corporate and government systems. AT&T has also been scrapping with other service providers over Web hosting customers after some dropped the service.

Customers are embracing the managed network services as well, freeing up technical staff to focus on the core business and reducing overall costs.