Ailing Nortel Networks got a huge boost, landing a $1.1 billion contract from
Sprint Corp. to convert its local phone network in18 states to a packet-based
The deal also makes Sprint the first incumbent U.S. carrier to start fully
converting its network to Internet protocol.
The four-year contract calls for Nortel to supply its voice-over-IP line of
products particularly for the last-mile access portion of the network.
While many networks have upgraded their backbones to carry IP traffic, the
user's access segment has typically been a traditional circuit-switched
Sprint expects that process to take about eight years, with the first phase
upgrading 3.6 million of Sprint's 8 million access lines to IP.
Nortel will provide all of the network equipment for that phase, including
its 'Succession Communication Server 2000' soft switches, 'MG 4000' trunking
gateways, 'MG 9000' access gateways and 'Passport 15000' multiservice
Nortel plans to start shipping equipment in the fourth quarter of 2001, with
installation to begin in early 2002. Testing will continue through 2002 and, if
all goes well, the IP equipment will take over customer traffic in early
With the voice-over-IP access gear, Sprint hopes to offer extend its
high-speed-data reach with combined voice and data products for residential and
business telephone customers.