AlcaLu CEO Likes His Product Lineup
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has all the pieces in place for future growth; it's just that you can't see the results in the quarterly reports, CEO Ben Verwaayen told analysts at the company's annual Technology Symposium.
Speaking in a fireside-chat setup on Wednesday morning, Verwaayen insisted AlcaLu has a solid strategy in place that's dictating all product directions.
But of course, that progress doesn't politely show up once a quarter. Some big fiber-access wins in China, for example, haven't delivered a boost in revenues yet. (See Bad Start to 2012 for AlcaLu.)
What AlcaLu is missing, he contended, isn't the ability to progress but the "capability to do that in a less volatile way than we're doing."
"You could say in the past we were an assembly of products looking for a strategy," Verwaayen said. Now, AlcaLu has an overall strategy, accepted by carrier customers, that all products are adhering to, Verwaayen said. And to simplify the business, the products have been consolidated into three areas: access, core and services.
Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) is certainly an underlying current, running underneath every product line. (See AlcaLu CEO Unveils New Vision.)
And cloud networking is a major initiative with nicely high margins -- in fact, AlcaLu's CloudBand platform officially launched Wednesday, with Texas-based carrier Transtelco announced as the first customer. (For more about AlcaLu's cloud ambitions, see AlcaLu Unveils Its Carrier Cloud Play.)
But in summarizing the state of the business -- something he was doing off the cuff, in response to a question -- Verwaayen stuck to familiar territory for most analysts, going down the major sectors of the network.
The access business, which looked like a commoditized wasteland two years ago, is hot, thanks to China's buildouts and the advent of higher-speed copper technologies. "China's plan for fiber access is unprecedented, and we are absolutely right in the middle of it," Verwaayen said. (See China Unicom Expands GPON With AlcaLu and AlcaLu Wins China Telecom Broadband Deal.)
In wireless, AlcaLu had some catching-up to do in radio, he said. But the rest of the wireless network, including backhaul, is moving to IP routing and focusing on video delivery. "In that next generation of technology, we have, I think, a better position than many of our competitors do," he said.
AlcaLu's best position might be in the convergence of the optical and IP networks. "We have an opportunity there to dominate," he said.
That's partly because AlcaLu is the only major vendor besides Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. with a longstanding presence in both optical and IP. But there's also been a change in the market. The "customization frenzy," where every carrier wanted something slightly different in optical, is ending as optical and IP intertwine, he said.
One potential obstacle to AlcaLu's plans is the economy, of course -- particularly the precarious European economy. Verwaayen wouldn't offer any new speculation about what's going to happen there. "If the sky falls, the sky falls," he said.
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading