ITT System 12

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

System 1240 (later System 12)[1][2] was an ambitious new Digital Telephone Exchange developed in 1977 by ITT Corporation. It reportedly cost US$1 billion.[3] It anticipated the features of ISDN of the 1990s.[4]

BTMC chipset of System 12

The design was done at the Advanced Technology Center (Stamford, Connecticut and then Shelton, Connecticut.) Manufacturing was by ITT's subsidiaries, such as BTM in Belgium, where the first production system was installed at Brecht, Belgium, in August 1982.[5]

Initial sales, particularly in Europe and Mexico, were strong, but the new system took longer than expected to integrate, with further losses.[6] Against the advice of headquarters, ITT Telecommunications (ITT Kellogg) in Raleigh, North Carolina undertook the conversion to the US market,[7] and although sales were announced in 1984[8] and 1985,[9] the attempt ultimately failed, in early 1986.[4][10]


Fortune reported that "Araskog focused the company on an all-consuming push to develop and market System 12" and "shoveled profits from good businesses into System 12's insatiable maw".[11] System 12 was intended to operate in all markets, and in all modes, from local switches to long distance.[5]


  1. ^ Viswanathan, T. Telecommunication Switching Systems and Networks, p.225.
  2. ^ US Patent 4,201,891 at
  3. ^ International Telephone Telegraph Corp at
  4. ^ a b ITT System 12 at
  5. ^ a b Chapuis, Robert J.; Joel, Amos E., Jr. (2003). "IX-7: "The ITT (now Alcatel) System 12"". 100 Years of Telephone Switching. ISBN 9781586033729.
  6. ^ "ITT Earnings Decline 33% for 3rd Quarter", Los Angeles Times, 5 November 1985.
  7. ^ Bartlett, Christopher A.; Ghoshal, Sumantra (2002). Managing Across Borders (2 ed.). Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 1-57851-707-9.
  8. ^ ITT Telecom, The New York Times, 26 June 1984.
  9. ^ "ITT Makes Sale To Southern Bell", The New York Times, 21 March 1985.
  10. ^ Hinman, Catherine."ITT Division In Brevard Will Furlough 60", Orlando Sentinel, 14 March 1986.
  11. ^ Magnet, Myron; Andrew Evan Serwer (11 November 1985). "IS ITT FIGHTING SHADOWS -- OR RAIDERS?". Fortune.