Bell Canada claimed the inking of the largest Canadian Internet Protocol (IP)-based data and voice services migration agreement on Friday when it announced a seven-year, $140-million contract with Manulife Financial.

Concluded Dec. 1, the deal will see Bell take over the running of the Toronto-based financial services firm’s wide area, local area and metropolitan area networks as well as providing a migration path towards an IP telephony voice infrastructure.

“It’s, to my knowledge, the biggest migration to an IP contract,” said Isabelle Courville, group president, enterprise markets for Bell Canada. “I don’t think there’s been such a huge contract and such an aggressive [move] for a Canadian company to move to IP both for their data and their IP.”

The agreement will be carried out through BCE Connexim, Bell’s outsourcing and professional services arm.

John C. Mather, chief administrative officer for Manulife Financial, said in a statement that the goal of the contract is to meet the firm’s cost-reduction goals. He added that Manulife selected Bell based on the latter’s “management expertise, reliability and security,” as well as the migration path that Bell laid out for them.

Manulife said the switch to IP will affect approximately 9,000 of its employees.

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