BT to provide managed services to British American Tobacco

BT (NYSE: BT) on Monday won a $100 million global managed services deal with British American Tobacco, illustrating that it can effectively compete in the growing consumer packaged goods (CPG) segment.

This is a large deal of the type BT Global is accustomed to serving via its broad reach into a wide set of global regions.

It also helps increase the profile of the CPG Group, which is now run by Kim McMann. While BT Global has been serving a number of markets including North America, she has set a goal of upping the group's presence and brand recognition in those regions.

The service provider will oversee the management of British American Tobacco's global Wide Area Network (WAN), including remote access, network security and third-party service provider management across 1,000 sites in 119 countries.

With the IP-based network, BT said British American Tobacco will be able to prioritize various types of traffic according to its business needs while reducing total cost of ownership of its communications infrastructure.

Phil Colman, CIO for British American Tobacco, said one of the deciding factors that led British American Tobacco to BT was its global reach "and in-country resources, particularly in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions."

Asia Pacific and Latin America have become hotbeds of competition in the global managed and IP services market. Over the past year, BT has been continually expanding its Ethernet and overall network presence in various international regions, including Asia Pacific, EMEA, Latin America and the United States.

BT's expansion efforts, which include a mix of its own network builds and key partnerships with other carriers in each region where it provides service, has also helped BT up its presence as an international Ethernet player.

On Vertical Systems Group's (VSG) Global Ethernet Leaderboard issued in August, the service provider advanced from the seventh spot, where it sat in the ranking put out in March, to the No. 4 spot.

Rosemary Cochran, principal of VSG, said the ability of service providers like BT to serve multiple sites in various geographic locations will be a factor that will set it and others apart from the pack in the global services market segment.   

"In the Ethernet structure, having the VPN capabilities globally and truly globally with expansion definitely makes a difference," she said.

However, Cochran was quick to add that any service provider that is mainly serving Europe will face challenges.

"With Europe's financial problems, any of those carriers that were relying predominantly on the trans-European markets were a bit more challenged than if you had a global infrastructure where multinationals are looking at expanding all over the world," she said. "Obviously, Europe is still a major area, but if you're in Asia, South America and the Middle East and you're expanding in those areas, and that's what we're seeing with BT."

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