Vodafone Makes Sun Its Preferred IT Vendor

Vodafone signs a global purchasing agreement with Sun that gives Vodafone consistent terms for Sun's hardware, software and services product line.

Sun Microsystems Inc. and Vodafone Group, one of the worlds largest mobile carriers, have strengthened their existing relationship by signing a global framework agreement that gives Vodafone consistent terms for Suns hardware, software and services product line.

The deal, to be announced on Tuesday, also includes specific extensions for the Sun Java Enterprise System and the Sun Java Desktop System, and allows Vodafone to use Sun software in providing services and support to customers in more than 26 countries worldwide.

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In essence, the global purchasing agreement means that Vodafone is selecting Sun as its preferred IT vendor of choice. "The global purchasing agreement makes it easier for Vodafone operating companies around the world to evaluate, acquire and deploy Java Enterprise System and Java Desktop System," said Joe Keller, a Sun vice president for Java Web Services and Development Platform Strategy.

"Vodafone signed this deal with Sun to pay one fee, upfront, and can then deploy as much software, depending on needs, over time. Vodafone currently has almost all of Suns hardware products in use around their global business," he said.

Sun and Vodafone already have a longstanding relationship, and this announcement means that Vodafone is now further committed to developing new applications and services on Sun systems, Keller said, adding that Vodafone, with some 75,000 employees worldwide, plans to fully migrate to Sun software to reduce licensing costs and complexity, and streamline communications across its operating companies around the globe.

The company will use the Java Enterprise System as a platform to deliver mobile applications to users, including ring tones and games. The contract is a rolling agreement that will be continually renewed unless Vodafone cancels its requirement for it, Keller said.

Detlef Schultz, Vodafones global supply chain director, said in a statement that the company anticipates significant cost and synergy savings over the next few years due to reduced support and deployment costs as a result of this agreement.

Suns Keller added that the Vodafone deal is an important and strategic one for Sun, but he declined to give the dollar amount of the deal, saying only that "it is quite large due to the scope of the agreement and amount of employees at Vodafone."

While Vodafone is in the evaluation stages for Java Desktop System, which is covered under the global framework agreement, Vodafone operating companies in Greece, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands have purchased Java Enterprise System licenses and are in varying stages of deployment, Keller said, but he declined to give specific numbers.

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