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Latham & Watkins has advised Lloyds TSB in nego-tiating a 500m contract with IBM to run its telephone and computer network over the internet.
The bumper deal highlights the growing trend for companies to route all voice and data traffic over the internet, a system known as voice over IP (VoIP).
The IBM VoIP network will be one of the largest in Europe. It will cover all of Lloyds TSBs head offices, branches and cashpoints.
The aim of VoIP networks is to reduce network costs. Lloyds TSB predicts that its branch communications will gain eight times their current bandwidth, hence enabling more traffic, and at a significant reduction in cost.
Lloyds TSB has been quick to take advantage of the benefits offered by outsourcing deals and has been ably assisted
by Andrew Moyles crack outsourcing team at Latham. These have involved business process outsourcing, which includes such back office functions as cheque processing, as well as the IT projects more readily associated with outsourcing.
This has not come without problems, though, as outsourcing has become a controversial political issue with the increase in offshore outsourcing, where jobs are transferred overseas to cheaper labour markets such as India.
Last year Lloyds TSBs workers union threatened legal action against the banks offshore outsourcing practice. It claimed that Lloyds TSB was exporting its clients sensitive personal data to India, which does not have the same stringent standards of protection for sensitive data as those required by the UKs Data Protection Act. India does not have a data protection act, but a bill is awaiting approval.