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Onecom Strikes Landmark Deal with Co-op

Onecom will keep one of the largest independent co-operative retailers in the UK connected after signing a deal worth almost £3m.

The deal will see Onecom provide internet and voice connectivity to serve the Central England Co-operative’s 450 outlets plus its head office in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and distribution centre in Leicester.

The contract is Onecom’s biggest connectivity solutions deal to date as the firm, already the UK’s biggest independent business to business mobile phone provider, continues its march into unified communications.

Under the Co-operative deal, worth £2.8m over three years, Onecom will provide a highly-resilient and super-fast network along with ISDN lines, hundreds of phone lines and voice over internet capability.

James Bannister (pictured), Solutions Director at Onecom, said: “This is a landmark deal for us and cements Onecom’s position as a leader in the field of unified communications.

“The solution we will be providing for Central England Co-operative is highly innovative with minimal latency and very high resilience – it’s a technical showpiece for this kind of network in the retail space.

“Central England Co-operative has around 9,000 members of staff, and most will come into contact with this system in one way or another. For an organisation this size it is crucial that networks are secure and reliable and that there are effective failsafes in place.

“We are delighted to be working with the Central England Co-operative on a project which demonstrates our capability to deliver bespoke communications solutions on a large scale.”

The solution introduced by Onecom sees the majority of Central Co-operative’s systems linked by fibre over a VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) which enables seamless connectivity over multiple points.

That high-speed service is augmented in store by conventional broadband and 3G and 4G wireless services which act as a failsafe.

If the main network fails for any one reason, communications can be routed via the Co-operative’s Leicester offices where systems are replicated to ensure a seamless service over a triangulated network.
Central England Co-operative can also adjust the connection’s priorities to allocate more bandwidth to particular systems or processes where necessary.

Mark Woodyatt, Head of Information Systems Operations for Central England Co-operative, said: “We were looking for a strategic partner who would work with us on the delivery of our digital strategy.
“We were very impressed with the way that Onecom deliver their services and during the tendering process they were the only partner that put forward a step change in technology.

“They did their research, got to know our business and got a feel for what it was like on our sites.
“Above all we needed a partner who would be sufficiently creative to work with us to find the best solution for our business, and one who would develop and grow with us.

“Onecom demonstrated those qualities and we are excited to be beginning this new partnership with them.”
Onecom, which provides communications solutions for customers ranging from sole traders to corporate, is currently growing its fixed line and solutions customer base by more than 100 customers a month, driven by its sales forces and a recently-updated website and marketing presence.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine