Carrier denies financial sector talk that Huawei has been edged out of the access portion of its next-gen net

February 14, 2007

2 Min Read
BT: Huawei's Still in 21CN Access

BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has categorically denied rumors sweeping the financial community that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is being ousted from the access portion of the carrier's £10 billion (US$19.5 billion) next-generation network, the 21CN.

Wall Street analysts are hearing that the Chinese vendor's MSAN (multiservice access network) gear is no longer being deployed by BT in the 21CN, which is in the early stages of being built out. (See BT Turns On 21CN, IPTV.)

But BT's Wholesale division, which is running the 21CN project, has categorically denied that Huawei is no longer involved in the high-speed access portion of the NGN rollout. "Any suggestion that Huawei is out of 21CN is misinformed. The company continues to play a full and active role in 21CN access," says Joe Kelly, BT Wholesale's communications director.

That official line was backed up by industry executives with intimate knowledge of the 21CN process. Huawei could not be contacted immediately for comment.

Huawei is one of the eight 21CN preferred vendors named by BT and is supplying access and optical transport equipment. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers and Huawei Picked for BT's 21CN.)

BT's other 21CN access technology partner is Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd. Access gear from both MSAN vendors is believed to be in commercial use in South Wales, where the first BT customers have been switched over from the PSTN to the new network.

The financial community is keeping a close eye on developments at BT as many of the companies they follow are either involved in the high-profile project or are waiting in the wings in case a new 21CN opportunity emerges. Nortel Networks Ltd. is the latest name added to the elite list of 21CN vendor partners. (See Nortel, Siemens Win PBT Deals at BT.)

Should an additional access equipment opportunity arise with the U.K. incumbent carrier, the most likely candidates to join Fujitsu and Huawei in the access portion of 21CN are Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), an incumbent supplier of ATM-based DSLAMs in BT's current broadband network, and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which acquired Marconi in October 2005. According to sources within BT, Marconi's DSLAMs were rated very highly by the 21CN testing team, but the vendor failed to win any 21CN business. (See Ericsson Buys Bulk of Marconi and Marconi in Turmoil.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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