Telecom’s deal with Alcatel as the selected partner for its planned “all-IP” network, with EDS assistance (see Alcatel-Telecom deal not signed) is still probably "months rather than weeks" away from being finalised, says information head Mark Ratcliffe.
“We’re still nailing down the exact scope of the deal,” he says. Aspects still to be settled include the degree of risk to be borne by each partner, and the exact roles and responsibilities of each.
But the partnership will definitely go ahead, Ratcliffe says. For something as large as a total network redesign, Telecom could not continue with its existing policy of dealing with as many as 20 to 30 vendors. It’s much less complex to be able to rely on one telecommunications partner, he says.
There will never be an “all-IP” network in the literal sense, Ratcliffe says. Old standbys like analogue copper will continue to play a role for a long time yet. “You always have to deal with a mixture of legacy, heritage and new [technology],” he says.
The difference between “legacy” and “heritage”? “Heritage is old but you still value it. Legacy is what you’re stuck with.”
And before the network approaches the point where “all-IP” might be foreseeable, there will be other superior technologies easing their way into the “new” part of the range, he predicts.