Global Crossing takes a crack at managed services

By Denise Pappalardo, Network World |  Business

Global Crossing launched a new business unit last week focused on offering multinational corporations managed services.

The business unit, called Global Crossing Solutions, will offer customers standard and customized managed services such as IP VPN, frame relay, ATM, Internet access, Web hosting and voice services. The services will run over Global Crossing's 110,000-route-fiber-mile network that spans 24 countries.

"Global Crossing is serious about offering managed services, but the company has to prove it can reach customers and have the expertise on staff to manage those accounts," says Brownlee Thomas of Giga Information Group. That's because until now Global Crossing has focused on wholesale services to carriers, and the company will need to show it can support business users successfully.

"We have the network reach, sales staff and know-how to offer network services to large multinational companies," says Gary Cohen, president of the group. Cohen, who joined Global Crossing last May, is a 22-year IBM veteran.

Global Crossing Solutions will go up against some stiff competition in light of Equant, Global One and France Telecom joining forces (see story). Others, such as AT&T and British Telecom's Concert joint venture, Infonet and Equant, have much more experience in managing global business users, Thomas says.

Global Crossing did not just launch the unit without any prep work, however. The company took several steps last year that led to the formation of Global Crossing Solutions. In February the company acquired IXnet, a voice and data service provider for financial institutions.

IXnet, which was renamed Financial Markets last week, brought with it some big customers such as Bear Stearns, New York Stock Exchange, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Chase Manhattan, NatWest and Merrill Lynch. Without IXnet, Global Crossing would have had a small customer base.

Global Crossing is also in the process of selling its Web hosting service provider, GlobalCenter, to Exodus Communications for $6.5 billion. The deal, announced in September, includes long-term network wholesale and co-marketing arrangements in which Global Crossing will essentially sell the Exodus Web hosting service to its customers.

Once in place, Global Crossing Solutions business customers have access to a greater number of Web hosting data centers including facilities in Europe and Asia.

Also in November, Global Crossing inked a deal with IBM Global Services to manage IBM customers' data network gear. IBM Global Services installs and supports IP, frame relay and ATM gear at customer sites. Global Crossing Solutions will use IBM Global Services in addition to other vendors to roll services out to new customers.

Global Crossing: www.globalcrossing.com

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