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Ethernet equipment

Hatteras Targets Mobile Backhaul

Hatteras Networks Inc. is going after the emerging mobile backhaul market with some new partnerships and a soon-to-be-announced product that offers TDM and Ethernet functionality over copper infrastructure.

At the Mobile World Congress this week, the company is touting partnerships with two systems integrators to target the mobile backhaul opportunity in emerging markets. (See Hatteras, ATL Team.)

Through a partnership with Advanced Technology of Laser (ATL) , Hatteras will target mobile operators needing 3G wireless backhaul in Hungary and Romania. The company will go after the same opportunity in Southern Africa through a partnership with Telecom 180 Group .

The new partnerships follow the company's recent sales and marketing expansion. As part of that initiative, Hatteras named Brian Hart as its VP of North American sales and hired former World Wide Packets Inc. executive Kevin Martin as VP of sales for EMEA last December. (See Hatteras Names New Execs.)

Gary Bolton, VP of marketing for Hatteras, says markets like Central Europe and Southern Africa provide a growth opportunity due to the need for service providers to reduce their backhaul costs.

"In markets like Central Europe where there's a lot of copper available, our equipment allows carriers to exponentially increase bandwidth with existing infrastructure," Bolton says.

Hatteras's Ethernet-over-copper gear can increase available bandwidth up to seven times that of existing network equipment, thereby lowering the cost of deploying mobile services.

"A T1 line is about $300 and an E1 is even more than that, but a dry copper pair is only about $10," Bolton says.

In addition to the partnerships, Hatteras is building on its mobile backhaul story with a new product being previewed at Mobile World Congress. While the product hasn't yet been announced, Bolton says the company is looking to ease network migration with a product that allows service providers to provide native TDM and Ethernet services over copper pairs.

Bolton didn't have a timeline for when Hatteras would make an announcement around the product, except to say that the company would go public with a service provider win sometime later in 2008.

In offering Ethernet and TDM over copper, Hatteras's closest competitor is probably Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), which offers both Ethernet over copper and Ethernet over TDM through its Total Access 5000 platform.

Adtran entered the Ethernet-over-copper space a little more than a year ago with a win at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Hatteras's mid-band Ethernet gear is also in the AT&T network, through a contract win at BellSouth in late 2005. (See Adtran Muscles Into Copper Ethernet, Adtran Scores at AT&T, and Copper Ethernet Snares an RBOC.)

Bolton says with his gear you get "the full bandwidth benefits of Ethernet," as opposed to Ethernet over TDM that is limited to 1.5 Mbit/s in the Adtran offering. Other advantages, he claims, include the full MEF-certified service set, whereas Adtran is limited to E-Line services only.

Kevin Morgan, Adtran's director of marketing for carrier networks, disputed those claims, saying that his company's Ethernet-over-TDM products were not limited to 1.5 Mbit/s and that his company's products are "absolutely equipped to provide E-LAN services."

Morgan also touted Adtran's history as a key differentiator from startup Hatteras. "One of the important advantages that Adtran brings is a solid 20-year base," he says.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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