BT opens regional hub to meet Middle East growth

BT – formerly British Telecom – has decided to upgrade its regional offices in Dubai into a regional hub for its BT Global Services division, which will now offer its corporate networking facilities to 13 countries across in the Middle East.

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By  Colin Edwards Published  June 4, 2006

BT – formerly British Telecom – has decided to upgrade its regional offices in Dubai to a regional hub for its BT Global Services division, which will now offer its corporate networking facilities to 13 countries across in the Middle East. The company, which has operated in the region since 1985 and has, more recently, established offices in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey, now sees overall business opportunities in the region second only to China. Before taking the decision to increase its presence in the Middle East, BT looked at the region’s potential compared to the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – that companies wanting typically look to first for expansion, said Brian Armstrong, regional director for Middle East and Africa. In most of the financial and growth indices investigated, the Middle East fell second or third to other countries, but overall was a close second to China, he added. BT already has 60 employees in the region plus an additional 30 consultants working directly out of customer premises. Oliver Campenon, president of EMEA, said immediate plans were to increase this headcount by at least 50%, but he foresaw business growth pushing this further in the year ahead. As part of its global investment of US$18 billion in its 21st Century IP-based converged network programme, BT is currently completing an extensive network roll-out in the Middle East. This will deliver an IP infrastructure in conjunction with local licensees that BT says is more resilient, more efficient, more secure and more widely available than anything offered before. Based on BT's MPLS platform it supports broadband VPN, internet, voice, mobility, multimedia and private line services and allows enterprise-wide management of applications performance across multiple sites in multiple countries. The new network roll-out in the Middle East is due to be completed by March 2007. The company already has 300 global companies - such as i-Mate, Reuters, Siemens, Unilever and Visa - with operations in the Middle East, but Campenon believes that BT is in a position to widen its user base extensively as more Middle Eastern companies fulfil their global expansion aspirations. “We see tremendous opportunity and potential in the Middle East to help regional customers take up and win the challenges of the global economy,” he said. Of the current BT Global Services client base in the Middle East, some are using BT Global Services niche products while others utilise full service offerings such as outsourced management facilities. In the Middle East, BT supplies a core set of networked IT services such as IP infrastructure, voice and data, customer relationship management, conferencing and outsourcing.

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