September 01, 2003

Equant (Paris), a majority-owned member of the France Telecom Group, recently signed a multi-million dollar contract to connect 120 SIA-member financial institutions onto the SWIFTNet messaging platform using an IP VPN (Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network). Equant is one of SWIFT's four network partners, along with AT&T, Colt and Infonet.

With its new customers in banking, Equant has an unique opportunity to offer other products and services along with the IP-based SWIFTNet FIN. In fact, it's already happening. "Where we used to do only the maintenance and deployment for some devices, the SWIFTNet link gave us the opportunity to bring in our IP services to a U.K.-based bank and open...different opportunities," says Bart De Kerpel, Equant's global director of the SWIFT account.

Banks that gain a comfort level with IP networks as a result of SWIFTNet usage may eventually shift to IP "not only data, but also voice and other critical messages," says De Kerpel.