BT has announced it expects to conclude contractual agreements with named preferred suppliers for 21CN over the summer.

"We are very pleased that BT has selected Ericsson as a preferred supplier to provide the i-node element of the 21st Century Network," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO, Ericsson. "This is a prestige project for our company and it further demonstrates BT's ambition to develop advanced and innovative services and to significantly invest in the UK telecom marketplace," he added.

BT's 21CN initiative is among the most important and ambitious telecommunications projects in the world and Ericsson provided BT with an innovative and flexible solution which meets BT's needs and supports its vision of a converged multimedia network.

BT's 21CN investment in the future is stimulating the global evolution and deployment of a layered architecture that delivers telephony, data and multimedia services. This evolution strategy will enhance the consumer experience with advanced, converged services that can be deployed rapidly by BT. The strategy will also deliver economic benefits from network consolidation with full operational flexibility whilst supporting stringent demands for scalability, flexibility and telecom grade quality of service.

BT's decision to select Ericsson to play a significant role in this pioneering project also underlines the company's position in the UK and will assist in the drive to create diverse career opportunities locally.

Ericsson is the world leader in fixed, mobile and convergent telecom solutions; to date, the company has secured more than 30 Telephony Softswitch solution customers. Ericsson is partnering leading operators worldwide: many of whom are implementing layered architectures to meet today's operational challenges whilst maintaining clear migration routes to all-IP network infrastructures.