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Huawei Claims Another Euro Scalp

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/25/2005

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has added another string to its European bow in the form of pan-European business service provider Colt Telecom Group plc (Nasdaq: COLT; London: CTM.L). (See Huawei Lands COLT Deal.)

The carrier is to use Chinese vendor's Quidway AR2809 and AR2831 enterprise routers for its managed Internet access and IP VPN services. Colt will install and manage the routers on its customers' premises.

John Baldwin, head of the operator's managed data services, says this is the first time Colt has used Huawei equipment, but that it is now "evaluating a number of products, including network equipment. We have a number of RFPs [requests for proposal] out at the moment for equipment such as DSLAMs," says Baldwin, who noted Huawei's latest IP DSLAM launch in London this week (see Huawei Unveils New IP DSLAM).

He adds that Colt is testing one of Huawei's high-end Ethernet switches that could sit either at a customer's building or in the carrier's network.

So why is Colt using Huawei's equipment when it already has equipment happily deployed from other vendors, including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) subsidiary Efficient Networks?

"Cost leadership is definitely a driver," says Baldwin, who adds that Colt expects to save "millions of pounds" in the coming year from deploying Huawei's routers instead of those from other suppliers. But he adds that price is not the only factor. "Using Huawei's routers helps to simplify deployment rules and operations. They use the same management software across the whole Quidway range, and that helps to simplify network configuration."

The Colt man adds that the Quidways have a greater speed range than other routers, which means that, depending on the requirements of the enterprise, fewer routers may be needed at the customer's building should they need multi-megabit connections, and that will save Colt money.

Huawei, naturally, is cock-a-hoop over the deal. "This is a key account for us and a great win in Europe, and there are more in the pipeline. Everyone knows about our involvement in the 21CN process," says Chris O'Dell, the vendor's channel distribution manager for the U.K. and Ireland (see BT Has 21CN Shortlists and Huawei Appoints UK Channel Director).

O'Dell rebuffs any suggestions that Huawei would struggle to match Colt's demands if it wanted to deploy a high number of Huawei routers: "We have a European warehouse in Amsterdam and local inventory stocks. We'll certainly be able to meet all their needs."

The Colt win will be another boost to Huawei's international ambitions. It is eager to break into Europe's key carrier accounts, and is slowly building a presence in the fixed and wireless markets, as well as gaining brand recognition among major operators (see Huawei Gains Ground in HR Survey, Huawei Lands DWDM Deal, Neuf: Time Is Right for IPTV, Huawei's Global Sales Hit $5.58B, Huawei Wins in West, and Huawei Builds Euro Backbone).

— Ray "Quidway" Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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