CenturyLink today announced that it has chosen Alcatel-Lucent's 7950 XRS routers for its planned major IP core network upgrade.
The network upgrade supports both CenturyLink's recent gigabit service push in 16 cities and its aggressive expansion of data center and cloud service connectivity. (See CenturyLink Upgrades IP Core With Alcatel, CenturyLink to Expand Gigabit Service to 16 Cities, CenturyLink Launches Private Cloud Services in 57 Data Centers and CenturyLink Offers Private Clouds in Hybrid Management.)
In addition, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) also announced that China's three major operators -- China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA), China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) -- are also deploying the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) to support their expansive fiber broadband access and 4G rollouts. (See Major Chinese Operators Choose Alcatel IP Router, China Mobile Adds 9M 4G Customers in August and China Issues More 4G Licenses.)
Notably, the vendor is claiming to be the sole provider of core routing platforms for both China Mobile's and China Unicom's 2014 core router tenders -- a reminder to local vendors Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) that while they dominate the Chinese telecom infrastructure market, they are not the only game in town.
It's also a reminder that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) maybe isn't the force it once was in China, though that is possibly linked more to geopolitics than anything to do with Cisco's technology or strategy. (See Cisco's Chambers Urges Obama to Rein in NSA.)
The CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) deal is Alcatel's first major win in the US for the core router it announced in 2012, but the company has found significant success overseas with major players including Telefonica, Belgacom and more. (See Alcatel-Lucent Thumbs Its Nose at Cisco.)
CenturyLink is becoming more of an industry leader in the US market, known more for its aggressive move into cloud services and its growing data center footprint, as well as leadership in some aspects of virtualization than for its lack of a wireless operation and its status as the number three player behind AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) (see CenturyLink Merges Cloud & Network and Inside CenturyLink's NFV/SDN Strategy.)
The positive news for Alcatel-Lucent comes a day before the vendor announces its third-quarter financials, so the timing is intriguing.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading