AT&T Pens Staples Pact

AT&T will provide a range of voice and data services for
Staples under a three-year, multi-million-dollar contract
extension.

The pact is in line with Ma Bell’s two-pronged strategy to transform itself into an
IP network services provider for large customers
in the face of flagging long-distance revenues.

The second part of AT&T’s strategy is its aggressive rollout of
Voice over IP for consumers.

AT&T will support Staples’ online business and 1,400 store locations in the
United States and Canada with local, long-distance and toll-free voice
services; frame relay data service; and high-speed
Internet access. AT&T competes with Sprint and others in
the managed network services market.

Although this contract covers only North American operations, AT&T is
“always interested in expanding to helping our customers overseas when
appropriate,” AT&T spokesman David Mancuso told internetnews.com.

Staples also operates in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, where it recently made an acquisition
to boost its presence.

Additionally, AT&T Labs will work with Staples on a technology platform that
will migrate the company’s e-commerce applications to an IP-based
networking solution. The company will also include support.

Staples will have online access to real-time
reports on network performance and direct connection to electronic billing
and trouble management systems.

A spokesman for Staples was not immediately available for comment.

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