Linksys And MCI Team To Provide A Complete Voice And Data Hardware And Service Solution For Small Businesses
Linksys One Communications Offering Provides Small Businesses with a Simple and Affordable Way to Utilize IP Technology in Daily Operations
IRVINE, CA and ASHBURN, VA - Nov, 14 2005 - Linksys®, a Division of Cisco Systems, Inc., and MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCIP) today announced they are joining forces to offer Linksys One, an easy, affordable and complete hosted communications solution specifically designed for small businesses. By combining the power of industry-leading, communication products from Linksys with MCI’s global Internet Protocol (IP) network and services, the two companies together are providing small businesses with the features and services to operate with the sophistication and efficiencies of their larger business counterparts.
“Linksys One goes far beyond the convergence of voice and data technology by delivering a simple, cost effective IP platform that small businesses can rely on for their voice, video and data requirements,” said Marthin De Beer, vice president and general manager of the Linksys Small Business Systems Business Unit. “This new offering will redefine how service providers compete for the largely underserved small business market, by combining highly secure application services with an affordable IP communications platform to give small businesses what they need to better compete in today’s global marketplace.”
The Linksys One/MCI solution will offer small businesses an extensible services platform that can provide all communications hardware and services, including business-class telephones, Internet broadband access, and data networking services, hosted business applications and local/long distance Voice over IP services on a single connection. This will eliminate the overhead and technical complexity of running separate networks. As a result, small businesses using the Linksys One solution will be able to streamline their business communications and replace their separate voice, fax and data lines, which most have installed today, with a solution managed by MCI.
“MCI and Linksys are working together to create innovative IP solutions that specifically address the evolving demands of small businesses,” said Phil Meeks, senior vice president of MCI Strategic Ventures and Alliances. “Linksys One builds on the MCI Cisco strategic relationship to deliver the plug-and-play solution small businesses have been waiting for to take full advantage of IP communications.”
While many “solutions” claim to bundle services and simplify the communications requirements of small businesses, most of today’s offerings require them to pick and choose from a menu of complex options that require varying levels of technical knowledge. With the Linksys One/MCI pre-configured system, businesses simply decide how many users are on the network and how many phone numbers they require. This unique, simple-to-use technology eliminates the need to have skilled IT professionals on-staff and on-site to maintain and expand the network.
As a network-based solution, the Linksys One and MCI offering also helps small businesses strengthen their business continuity and disaster recovery protection. In the event of a disaster, a small business can relocate and replace their communications solution, with all configurations maintained centrally in the MCI global IP network, helping to alleviate disruptions to their operations.
According to Infonetics Research, an international market research and consulting firm, a small business is defined as having fewer than 100 employees. “Small businesses have ever-increasing voice and data requirements, but many of them don’t have the time or money to manage and install different systems, or the ability to support them,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst, Enterprise Voice and Data for Infonetics Research. “An offering like Linksys One with hosted services from MCI can provide small businesses with a solution that helps simplify the buying of hardware and services, enabling them to better focus on their core business.”
The Linksys and MCI Offering:
The Linksys One solution will combine the intelligence and interoperability of MCI’s IP infrastructure via the carrier-class Cisco Service Node with all-new Linksys One premises equipment (services router, voice gateway, SIP-based IP phones, etc). MCI will manage and maintain the Cisco Service Node, which acts as an aggregation point for Linksys One solution customers, within its global IP network.
By tapping into Cisco’s extensive knowledge in Internet networking, Linksys is enabling the new customer premises equipment (CPE) to automatically determine the optimal configuration and be ready to provide service as soon as it’s plugged in. The Linksys One Service platform makes it easy for MCI to aggregate, provision and manage converged communications services for subscribers with the ability to quickly bundle new IP applications as they become available.
The Linksys One platform coupled with MCI’s Internet and voice services enables new, collaborative routes to market for Linksys, MCI and their value-added resellers (VARs). This offering is a unique opportunity for MCI, Linksys and VARs to jointly market and sell to small businesses while minimizing traditional channel conflict.
1. MCI will offer Linksys One Solutions to small business customers through a newly developed VAR channel.
2. MCI and Linksys VARs will offer the Linksys One solution and MCI Services to small businesses, affording VARs the opportunity to quickly deploy this all-in-one solution without specialized technical expertise, while enabling them to expand their business by receiving monthly recurring revenue and reaping higher margins than reselling off-the-shelf hardware. VARs also can reduce unplanned support visits and focus on bringing new value-added services to customers.
3. MCI will support its VARs through an enhanced program providing training, marketing materials and technical support benefits.
4. Small businesses can choose to reach out to MCI and Linksys VARs to purchase hardware and services, including technical service and support.
Linksys is scheduled to begin rolling out its line of Linksys One CPE in December 2005. MCI plans to start trials in early 2006 and launch its Internet and voice services with the Linksys One system in mid-2006. In the interim, Linksys and MCI are recruiting and training agents and VARs on the Linksys One solution.
Founded in 1988, Linksys, a Division of Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the recognized leader in Voice, Wireless and Ethernet networking hardware for consumer, SOHO and small business users. Linksys is dedicated to making networking easy and affordable for its customers, offering innovative, award-winning products that seamlessly integrate with a variety of devices and applications. Linksys also provides award-winning product support to its customers. For more information, visit www.linksys.com.
About MCI, Inc.
MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCIP) is a leading global communications provider, delivering innovative, cost-effective, advanced communications connectivity to businesses, governments and consumers. With one of the most expansive global IP backbones and wholly-owned data networks, MCI develops the converged communications products and services that are the foundation for commerce and communications in today’s market. For more information, go to www.mci.com.
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- MCI, Inc.
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