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AsiaWatch: FTTH, Huawei, 3G & M&A

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is the hot topic du jour in Asia/Pacific, with New Zealand's government committing to a next-gen broadband stimulus plan.

But M&A talk, new network deals, and commentary on China's TD-SCDMA mobile standard are also on the news agenda.

Broadband boost for the Kiwis
The New Zealand government has formalized its 1.5 billion New Zealand dollar (US$1.07 billion) initiative, first outlined in March this year, to fund a new access network that will pass 75 percent of the country's households with FTTH connections within 10 years. Check out the details at the government's Website.

The plan, which involves the construction of an open access network that can be used on equal terms by multiple retail service providers, is very similar to Australia's NBN (National Broadband Network) project that was announced a few months ago.

Speaking of which...

Quigley adds to NBN team, fleshes out plans
Mike Quigley, the former Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) executive who recently took the helm at Australia's NBN, has been adding to his team, and has drafted in former colleague Jean-Pascal Beaufret to be CFO of the A$43 billion (US$37.6 billion) fiber access project. (See Quigley Lands Major FTTP Role and Australia Unveils $31B FTTP Plan.)

Beaufret knows his way around telecom finance spreadsheets: He was CFO at AlcaLu until October 2007, when he was replaced as part of a management revamp, a decision that raised concern as well as Gallic eyebrows. (See Russo Shakes Up AlcaLu's Top Team.)

Quigley has also appointed heads of commercial strategy, industry engagement, program delivery, and human resources. Check out this story from The Australian for more.

He has also been briefing the local media about the NBN's progress. Read this ITWire story for more details, and then check out this Sydney Morning Herald report for news on the first NBN cable trench.

Quigley also noted in interviews that he expects two primary equipment vendors to be chosen for the supply of the network infrastructure (Ethernet aggregation, OLTs, and ONTs), while one primary supplier will pull together the required back-office OSS systems. His team has yet to issue the planned Expression of Interest (EoI) documents to interested vendors.

Meanwhile, Australia's FTTP plan is having a direct impact on national incumbent Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), which is facing structural separation. (See Telstra Faces Breakup and Telstra Reacts to Split Proposal.)

Huawei scores in Indonesia
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) this week issued a "Discloseable Transaction" document, which details a US$422.2 million deal between its Indonesian operation, mobile operator PT Hutchison CP Telecommunications (HCPT), and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. .

The Chinese vendor is to provide the carrier with network equipment, systems, and associated services valued at US$307.2 million between now and January 2011. Then at HCPT's discretion, orders worth a further US$80 million could follow between January 2011 and the end of 2014. In addition, Huawei is to provide managed services for an initial three-year period in a deal valued at US$35 million.

Huawei is desperate to be a major player in managed services, so while this deal isn't financially significant, especially in light of its anticipated financial performance, it's another reference point for the vendor. (See BBWF: Huawei's Big Year and Huawei Plays Managed Service Catchup.)

Indonesia is regarded as one of the key telecom markets for Hutchison, which is offloading non-strategic assets elsewhere. (See Hutchison Offloads Partner.)

Huawei has also just announced a deal with China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU)'s Shanghai operation for the deployment of the vendor's "all-IP" unified network management system, the iManager U2000, which it launched this June. (See Huawei Unveils New OSS.)

Is PCCW looking to Africa?
Hong Kong carrier PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) is the latest Asia/Pacific player to be linked to potential acquisition interest in Africa. According to this Reuters report, citing newspaper Business Report, PCCW is in talks with South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG).

The African telecom sector is attracting a great deal of investment interest currently as international carriers look for new growth markets. (See Zain's $13.7B Mystery Investors, AfricaWatch: M&A Frenzy, and Telecom Market Spotlight: Africa.)

ITU chips in on TD-SCDMA
Expect to hear a lot from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the coming weeks in the build up to its ITU Telecom World 2009 event in Geneva (October 5-9).

Today the Union's deputy secretary-general is commenting on China's 3G standard, TD-SCDMA. Check out the details in this Reuters report.

Other recent news of interest from Asia/Pacific includes:

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to OSS 2.0: Driving the Services Revolution, a one-day conference for the service provider looking to adapt and transform its OSS for the emerging world of explosive service delivery. To be staged in London, October 14, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


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