Ciena Gains an Asian Edge

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) today announced that Korea Telecom has agreed to use Ciena's MultiWave Metro product to boost the capacity of its metropolitan telecommunications rings, making it Ciena's largest Asian customer to date.

Ciena officials declined to assign a number to the size of the contract, but claimed it was the "largest Asian deployment of intelligent optical transport systems for metropolitan area networking"."

The deal does appear significant, because it adds to Ciena's presence in Asia, in a country that is aggressively building out telecommunications capacity. Ciena's stock reacted favorably, rising $14, or 12 percent, to $135 in morning trading.

"I think the fact that this is the big national carrier in Korea, which is very committed to building out its telecommunications infrastructure, makes this significant," says David Toung, senior anlayst with Argus Research. "This is a major contract."

Ciena officials would not describe the size of the deal, other than saying that Korea Telecom was now their largest Asian customer, and that the equipment had already been installed. Ciena already has several Japanese customers.

"If it's something like this, you get the equipment installed and it's ongoing business," says Denny Bilter, marketing director with Ciena. "We don't give a number. But we have deployed the system and we've shipped the product."

Nikos Theodosopoulos, analyst with UBS Warburg, said that based on similar metropolitan-area deals, the contract was likely valued under $10 million. But revenues are likely to build, as Ciena uses the initial deployment to gain more business.

"They can grow it over time," said Theodosopoulos. "Ciena continues to do very well in long-haul, metropolitan area, and bandwidth services, and they are uniquely positioned as a company doing all three of those." The equipment was initially deployed over seven metropolitan fiber rings throughout South Korea, including Seoul.

-- R. Scott Raynovich, executive editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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