BT offers IP telephony service in U.S.

* Allows businesses to bring converged services to the desktop using BT and Cisco's cloud computing-based technologies

On the same day Verizon announced it was planning to launch a hosted unified communications and collaboration service based on Cisco's solution, BT also announced plans to extend its hosted IP telephony service to business customers in the United States. The BT service, initially launched in the UK in December 2009, also allows businesses to bring converged services to the desktop in, using BT and Cisco's cloud computing-based technologies.

On the same day Verizon announced it was planning to launch a hosted unified communications and collaboration service based on Cisco's solution, BT also announced plans to extend its hosted IP telephony service to business customers in the United States. The BT service, initially launched in the UK in December 2009, also allows businesses to bring converged services to the desktop using BT and Cisco's cloud computing-based technologies.

BT's hosted IP telephony service is a based on Cisco Hosted Unified Communications Services (HUCS) platform and BT's Onevoice UCC portfolio. Neil Sutton, vice president, global portfolio, BT Global Services, said in a statement, "BT and Cisco's collaboration on this innovative, cloud-based unified communications system helps businesses reduce capital expenditure, enhance communication and introduce productivity enhancing tools. The extension of this service to the key U.S .market is an important milestone on the road to globalizing this offer for our customers."

Our observations: Beyond Verizon, BT joins other incumbent service providers competing with hosted offers including AT&T's premises-based UC solutions based on Microsoft OCS 2007 and Cisco platforms along with Qwest's hosted UC offer based on the Cisco HUCS platform.

Two items tweak our analytical fancy from these service provider arrangements between telcos, Cisco and Microsoft. First -- as was the case in early days of plain old VoIP, enterprise infrastructure suppliers tend to have very feature-rich solutions that lend themselves well to a hosted, managed service from incumbent telcos. And second -- these enterprise systems are not only carrier class when it comes to reliability, they are also carrier class when it comes to scale. For example, the Cisco solution scales to 150,000 users -- or 150% of the voice capacity delivered by a single traditional Class 5 voice switch that serves plain old telephone service.

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