Tesco has signed a £100 million, five year deal for Cable & Wireless to run its next generation telecoms network.

The deal covers the supermarket giant’s UK operations, and thirteen other countries.

In the UK, Cable & Wireless will become the sole Tesco supplier of data, fixed and mobile voice services, streamlining existing systems into a single IP network. The network will have 40 times the capacity of the current Tesco setup and will be built on the Cable&Wireless multi service platform. It will connect over 1,800 Tesco sites including stores, regional offices and distribution centres.

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It will also connect operations within other countries including China, India, Japan, the USA, Ireland and Turkey.

The new network also allows for enhancements, such as interactive in-store information kiosks, video conferencing for Tesco offices, and other development tools. Although Tesco has not committed to those tools yet.

A voice over internet protocol platform will be set up on the network, which Tesco said it hoped would reduce telecoms costs.

A fixed-mobile convergence service will also be added for Tesco employees. This will enable staff to use their existing mobile phones as fixed line phones in the office, and for roaming on mobile networks when outside. The aim is to better equip mobile workers and reduce overall call costs further.

Nick Folkes, UK IT director at Tesco, said: “This next generation network opens up a new set of opportunities for us. We can be much more creative in terms of the services we can offer our customers, as well as our staff.”

Tesco recently announced that its online food sales had rocketed 49 percent higher in the last financial year, following extensive IT investment.

It said IT was also the key to reducing its impact on the environment.

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