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HP and Alcatel seek telcos for SMB services plan

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Alcatel and HP are to jointly develop the Ready Office Program for SMBs, a suite of IT and communication products to small and medium businesses.

The firms will partner with global telco service providers to tout managed "pay as you go" service offerings including network access, voice, data, multimedia services, together with hosted server, PC and call centre packages.

France Telecom is the first telco partner to share its direct channels to market with Alcatel and HP in the SMB services scheme.

SMB customers typically without dedicated IT departments, want to buy business solutions, rather than technology, according to Camille Mendler, research director at Yankee Group.

She said the HP-Alcatel partnership illustrates the "changing role of equipment vendors in the telecommunications supply chain. Telecom service providers are looking beyond technology solutions to the commercial services that equipment vendors can also supply".

Carly Fiorina, HP CEO, said the initiative will "enable SMBs to get more out of their IT and telecommunications while enabling them to spend more time focused on running their businesses".

According to Alcatel boss Serge Tchuruk, the suite, which provides a single point of billing and technical contact for customers, will give telcos a way of breaking into the notoriously hard to target SMB market.

"By selecting the Alcatel and HP offering, telecom service providers will broaden their SMB customer base, and improve customer loyalty," he said. ®

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