Telkom SA Ltd. has won a 100 million Rand (US$14,208,178) contract from Johannesburg Securities Exchange of South Africa (SA)-listed fashion retailer, The Foschini Group (Pty) Ltd., to manage its Wide Area Network (WAN).

The five-year deal — which is effective immediately — aims to consolidate Telkom’s position as a provider of outsourced solutions to enterprises operating in a rapid turnaround, customer-facing environment, thereby allowing the customer to concentrate on its core business, while Telkom manages the WAN.

The group has over 1,200 retail stores in SA and bordering states, comprising several brands, including Foschini Ltd., Markhams, American Swiss, Sterns, Total Sports, Sportscene, Exact!, @home and Retail Credit Solutions.

Foschini required a partner that could help it to meet its business objectives of providing an efficient and scalable network, which would meet current and future business requirements. The current network was running at near capacity, leaving little room for the more advanced applications that Foschini required to service its retail locations. This became the primary driver in Foschini, soliciting competitive bids to fix this urgent need.

Foschini’s mandate was for the network to provide “more for less.” This required the development and implementation of a network which would reduce the time-lag in critical functions like credit applications, approvals and payment, which, if not resolved, meant lost revenue and an eroded customer base.

Telkom implemented an end-to-end VPN Supreme solution, which is its Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) offering. A Managed Data Network Service supports the network, with service level guarantees on performance and service availability uptime.

MPLS is a standards-approved technology, which speeds up network traffic flow and makes it easier to manage, also from a Quality of Service point of view. Telkom, Foschini, and its consultant Nebula Solutions allocated resources to implement and optimize the network.

Brent Curry, GM of Foschini Data, says: “Telkom’s outsourced solution had contributed to meeting the group’s demanding ICT requirements. Its ability to plan and manage its internal customer base in terms of delivery on network performance and reliability is enabling us to focus on the core business, while Telkom manages changes and enhancements to the network. Telkom also brings skilled expertise to the party, a combination that is hard to beat in the local market.”

Johann Henning, executive for Telkom’s global customers, says: “Telkom works closely with customers to assess business needs and future growth requirements before implementing a project.

“Telkom’s MPLS solution works with Internet Protocol (IP), Asynchronous Transport Mode (ATM) and frame relay network protocols to enable customers to carry multimedia traffic.”