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RealTime IT News

AT&T Expanding Network in China, India

Focusing on reach and consistency of services, AT&T is expanding its network into China and other emerging countries in order to improve services to worldwide customers.

"We are aggressively deploying new nodes in China, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Qatar, Panama and United Arab Emirates," Chris Rooney, AT&T's president of sales, said in a call with reporters today.

In addition to adding its own infrastructure worldwide, AT&T is signing interconnect agreements with local carriers in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The pacts would help AT&T serve customers that are opening software labs, manufacturing plants and sales offices outside large industrial centers.

The Bedminster, N.J., carrier also plans several other moves: increasing Wi-Fi hotspots from 9,200 to 15,000 in nearly 40 countries by year's end; expanding DSL into Europe and Asia; adding wired Ethernet locations worldwide; and testing WiMAX in three U.S. cities.

The moves are part of a capital plan aimed at supplying IP VPN-based, hosting, managed services and security to large companies and government agencies.

In all, AT&T said it will have spent more than $10 billion from 2002 to the end of this year. The figure includes the costs of new network hardware and software as well as back-end integration work.

Rooney said the company does not release future spending estimates, but noted that areas such as Voice over Internet protocol and mobility will figure prominently in future decisions.

AT&T's investment in wide area network services is a wise one, industry watchers say. In a research report issued this week, Forrester predicted that the WAN services market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of between 4.5 percent and 6.5 percent over the next five years.

Others expected to benefit from the trend include large carriers Equant, the combined BT/BT Infonet, as well as second-tier players Telefonica, Singapore Telecoms and Global Crossing, Forrester said.