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AT&T, Avaya target SMB for combined VoIP


AT&T and Avaya have teamed up to make it easier for small to mid-sized businesses to make the transition to voice over IP, the two companies announced today.

Under a global strategic alliance, the two companies will combine AT&T’s network expertise with Avaya’s customer premises equipment to create a one-stop shop that takes a business from network design through implementation and customer support, covering not only VoIP but LAN and wireless LAN technology.

“We see a big opportunity as a converged solution in the small to mid-sized business marketplace,” said Eric Shepcaro, AT&T vice president of business strategy & development. “As a bundled packaged solution, we really help a small business go from architecture assessment and design to implementing a new solution that can be managed or unmanaged. Also, we will work together to look at incremental applications that we would build on top of this.”

Customers will have a single point of contact, after service is installed, to simplify customer support, as well. They will receive 24-7 proactive network-monitoring and fault isolation and resolution via AT&T’s integrated Global Enterprise Management System and direct access to Avaya expertise through the AT&T Global Client Support Center. That support will include both service and applications and will feature visibility through the public network to their enteprise VoIP network as well.

“Together we have a strong heritage around voice and understanding the migration to VoIP,” said Pete Leuzzi, Avaya’s vice president of strategic alliances and partnerships. “The benefit to that end customer is the single point of contact, working through AT&T, knowing Avaya is engaged not only on sales alignment but also after the fact in terms of supporting the customer.”

The alliance is particularly effective for businesses that may be looking for managed or hybrid solutions, and wanting to keep down the cost of capex while deploying IP telephony either in green-field situations or across an enterprise, Leuzzi said.

“We are taking a look at how we might be able to leverage another model – more of a utility-based pricing model versus a capex model,” he said.

AT&T offers both IP-Centrex and IP PBX offers but is looking with Avaya at a multi-tenant shared utility IP-PBX model, Shepcaro said. In that model, the IP-PBX would reside at one of AT&T’s 30 data centers and be a shared facility.

AT&T and Avaya have completed interoperability testing of AT&T’s network with Avaya’s IP servers, gateways and MultiVantage software. The two companies are in the process of certifying Avaya’s SIP-enabled servers.


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