Huawei Unveils Newish IP DSLAM
The SmartAX MA5600 IP DSLAM, launched in China some months ago, is a different version of the firm's MA5300 IP DSLAM, which is already being used in Europe by triple-play operator Neuf Telecom (see Neuf: Time Is Right for IPTV).
Huawei is targeting carriers that are planning TV and video services over xDSL. A product briefing note about the MA5600 and MA5300 DSLAMs states specifically that the products are high-capacity DSLAMs that "meet the demand for high-bandwidth services such as video-on-demand and IPTV."
This brings Huawei's products into direct competition with the triple-play-oriented DSLAMs announced a few months ago by Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd., both of which are incumbent suppliers to some of Europe's major incumbent operators.
The key difference between Huawei's two IP DSLAMs is that the MA5600 has greater support for ADSL2+ -- 896 ADSL2+ lines per frame, compared with the MA5300's 672 ADSL2+ lines per frame.
Exactly how Huawei will position the new IP DSLAM for the international market is not being revealed until Monday, and it seems that European analysts have not been briefed on this product. It's also not clear at this stage how competitively Huawei will price the product. The vendor has been gaining traction among European vendors because of its cutthroat pricing, which operators have allegedly been using as a weapon to broker better deals from their incumbent suppliers.
Other vendors that have IP DSLAMs include Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), PacketFront AB, Siemens Communications Group, and UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI).
The timing and location of Huawei's MA5600 launch are significant. The topic of delivering TV and video over broadband is hot in Europe, and most of the continent's leading carriers, including Belgacom (Euronext: BELG), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE), TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN), and Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), are attending the event (see Paris Presents Blurred TV Picture, Microsoft IPTV: Now That's Italian!, and Swiss IPTV Trial Hits 'Glitches').
In addition, the event's chief sponsor is U.K. incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which has plans to launch video-over-broadband services later this year (see BT Lines Up VOD Launch).
BT is also in the final stages of deciding which vendors will be the leading suppliers for its next-generation network, dubbed the 21st Century Network (21CN), and Huawei is believed to be one of four vendors in BT's access equipment shortlist (see BT Has 21CN Shortlists).
It's clear that Huawei is putting specific resources into wooing BT's 21CN procurement team. One of the speakers at next week's event is Daniel Tang, who is Huawei's director of BT 21CN solution marketing.
But the event is not just for Europeans. A slew of next-generation vendors from all over the world are attending, exhibiting, and speaking at the four-day event, and non-European carrier attendees include representatives from AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T); BCE Inc. (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), better known as Bell Canada; China Telecommunications Corp. (NYSE: CHA); Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T); and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).
Topics under scrutiny include fixed/mobile convergence strategies, VOIP, the business case for IP, QOS in IP networks, broadband video, IP service provisioning and other OSS issues, and carrier-hosted IP services. Light Reading will regularly report from the event during next week.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading