Adtran Doubles Down in Europe

After seeing its revenue from the European market dip in the third quarter, Adtran has made a series of moves in the past week aimed at strengthening its appeal in Europe, as well as highlighting its existing position with major European telcos.

In separate announcements made during the Broadband World Forum 2014 event in Amsterdam, Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) said its 500G Series ultra-broadband G.fast product is now in trials with multiple but unidentified carriers in Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific. It also announced a new product for its NetVanta enterprise Ethernet switch family that is well positioned for European adoption. (See G.fast: The Dawn of Gigabit Copper?)

Also, on the eve of the show, Adtran promoted Ronan Kelly, its business development director for Europe, to the newly created position of CTO for the EMEA and Asia/Pacific regions. (See Adtran Unveils Gigabit Access Router and Adtran Appoints CTO for EMEA, Asia-Pac.)

The European carrier testing G.fast could well be Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), as an Adtran official claimed recently that the product would be part of the carrier's TeraStream network project; the vendor, though, is not confirming any operator names related to G.fast. (See Adtran: We're In at TeraStream.)

Adtran is, however, talking up the potential for G.fast and is aiming to have commercial products available during the second quarter of next year. "In my time at Adtran, I have never seen a technology that has generated so much demand for lab trials," Kelly told Light Reading in Amsterdam. "We have bucketloads of trials," he added, noting that while telco trials are positive, "they don't always translate into deployments and orders."

Meanwhile, the NetVanta 5660 Gigabit Access Router, in addition to integrating support for Layer 2/3 services, features quad- and octal-bonded SHDSL and quad VDSL -- technologies that have strong appeal in the European market, according to Barry Derrick, product marketing manager at Adtran.

"Many of our NetVanta products have had a quasi-domestic focus, but this platform has more options that would be viable from an international point of view, like bonded SHDSL," he told Light Reading. "Competitively, we found just a couple of European vendors that were strong on Layer 3 services, but don't have the fully converged approach, so we think we can have an impact."

Adtran is also positioning the new NetVanta box as the company's "first step to virtualization [for Adtran]," noted Kelly, as it enables separation of the data and control planes and lays the ground for support of SDN capabilities such as OpenFlow.

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Most recently, Adtran has seen its fortunes fizzle in the European market, issuing a warning in early October that its third-quarter revenues would be lower than anticipated, largely due to a sequential revenue decrease in Europe. At mid-month, it backed up that warning by posting revenue of $162.9 million for the quarter, within its newly lowered range. (See Lower Revenue in Europe Alters Adtran's Q3.)

Since late 2011, when it moved to acquire NSN's broadband access assets, Adtran has been making a concerted push for greater relevance in Europe and elsewhere abroad. It remains a vitally important market for Adtran and other US vendors, particularly those often seeing their hopes rise and fall on the whims of the two largest US carriers, AT&T and Verizon. Adtran is now hoping for a rebound in Europe in the current quarter and beyond, banking on the expected commercialization of G.fast in 2015, as well as the increasing interest among service providers and enterprises in gigabit services. (See Adtran's Euro Adventure and Adtran Wants NSN's International Pull.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

smkinoshita 10/28/2014 | 12:36:58 PM
There's the rub  "We have bucketloads of trials," he added, noting that while telco trials are positive, "they don't always translate into deployments and orders."

That's the big problem -- I've heard of lots of siutations where things test great but then don't translate well on the market.  Coincidentally, I was just watching Weird Al's "UHF" on DVD and he mentioned that Orion put a lot of stock in his movie because it tested so well... and then promptly put it out against movies like Ghostbusters 2, Indianna Jones & the Last Crusade, etc, etc.  It didn't get validated until VHS rentals & sales later.

Now I'm not saying that the trials are anything similar to the testing that Orion did, but I'm glad they're being cautiously optimistic.  I've had situations myself where testing shows very positive numbers and then decision makers go with the devil they know instead.
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