The contract marks Sprint’s
commitment to labor on after
its failed merger attempt with Worldcom,
Inc. had analysts predicting the company’s eventual demise.
The agreement gives Sprint, the nation’s second largest long-distance
carrier behind AT&T Corp.
with 20 million business and residential customers, enhanced IP offerings
to accommodate the increased demand for high-speed Internet access and
services like virtual private networks and streaming media.
Don Hallacy, Sprint Internet president, said the contract with Lucent
ensures its customers can take advantage of the recent
improvements in data transport.
“This is another example of our commitment to maintain a world-class
network capable of providing fast, reliable access to the Internet and
providing businesses with secure remote access solutions,” Hallacy
said. “More and more, businesses are exploring how the Internet can
improve their ability to communicate with a mobile or remote workforce
utilizing Internet VPN solutions. Through improved network management
efficiencies, Lucent’s technology and experience will help us ensure that
our rapidly growing network continues to deliver the highest quality to our
Sprint’s purchase of next-generation equipment and software gives the
carrier cutting-edge technology to streamline its current traffic network.
Lucent’s APX 8000 multiservice access switch gives the carrier a single
platform to integrate dial up, ISDN, voice over IP, fax over IP and VPN
services. It’s 2,688 ports per chassis gives Sprint the opportunity to
defray the cost of the switch by reselling extra ports to Internet service
providers and businesses, called port wholesaling.
The purchase of Lucent’s Softswitch Internet Call Diversion gives Sprint
the ability to divert data traffic from the circuit switches on voice
networks. The Signaling System 7 gateway is part of Lucent’s 7R/E next
generation network solution.
Alex Winogradoff, Gartner’s
Dataquest telecommunications and networking group principal analyst, said
in a statement released last month that Sprint’s abandoned merger talks
opened the door to a takeover.
“In all likelihood Sprint will not exist as an independent entity beyond
mid-2001 at best,” Winogradoff said.
“Competitors, potential suitors and
corporate raiders are already hard at work. The value of Sprint’s
individual businesses are an open book requiring limited due diligence, and
the sum value of its individual parts could well exceed Sprint’s value as a
whole. Sprint can either hold out for a company with ambitions to keep it
whole, or separate its business into stand-alone units for eventual
sell-off to maximize shareholder value.”