TELECOM 99: Compaq bolsters telco business

Announcing a new business unit and product packages for telephone companies and mobile communications providers, Compaq Computer officials yesterday declared the company is serious about growing its telecommunications business.

The company's new unit, Compaq Telecommunications, will bring together 2000 systems engineers and services staff from disparate areas of the company into one group, headquartered in the Dallas metropolitan area. The group's charter is to integrate existing Compaq technology for telephone and wireless services providers, officials said here at Telecom 99.

Sales staff and account managers for telecommunications customers will remain separate, numbering about 100 to 150 people in the US, the same number in Europe, and about 100 spread through the rest of the world, officials said.

Compaq wants to be the preferred supplier for application service providers (ASPs) and internet service providers (ISPs) as their revenue grows, said Enrico Pesatori, senior vice president and general group manager for the Enterprise Solutions & Services Group at Compaq, in an interview. Revenue generated by ISPs and ASPs is excepted to grow from $US8 billion this year to $27 billion within the next three years, Pesatori said.

Larry Schwartz will be vice president and general manager of the new unit, reporting to Pesatori.

"Service providers are cherry-picking the best technology out there in order to put together the types of new, converged services that customers want," Schwartz said, in remarks after Compaq's press conference. Compaq wants to be able to integrate its own existing technology to offer service providers product packages that can act as the back-end technology base for new services, including broadband applications and wireless communications services, he said.

Compaq also rolled out two product packages for telecomms companies. The first, a new "zero-latency engine", is designed as a server platform on which communications companies can run customer relationship and business management applications.

The platform, depending on a company's needs, can integrate multiple servers, including a 128-processor NonStop Himalaya server, Tru64Unix GS140 AlphaServers and Windows NT ProLiant 7000 servers, as well as ProLiant 1850R data servers.

The integrated server system is capable of running 1.2 billion call detail record transactions per day, according to Pesatori. Running on top of the servers are a range of middleware and transaction processing software, including the MQ Series message queuing software from IBM, and Tuxedo transaction-processing software from BEA Systems.

Compaq also announced the Aero GSM Connectivity Suite, designed to offer a one-stop product package that lets service providers give users the ability to connect to the internet using Compaq's Aero palm-size PC and a GSM phone. The suite, slated for availability later this year in Europe, includes applications that allow users to access the internet and send and receive faxes.

Pricing for the zero latency engine and the Aero suite will depend on application configuration, officials here said.