Optical/IP Networks

Turin, UTStarcom Team Up

As UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI) sallies into the U.S. optical transport market, Turin Networks Inc. is cheering the effort, as its technology is the basis for UTStarcom's transport products (see UTStarcom Touts Transport Gear, Buyer).

The two companies have not publicly announced an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreement, but neither has been shy about acknowledging their link since UTStarcom first displayed some rebranded Turin gear this summer at Supercomm (see UTStarcom Tiptoes Into Transport).

Now UTStarcom has announced a U.S. customer -- Idacomm, an independent telecom provider based in Idaho -- where it has sold Turin-based gear. That particular win was a sweet one for UTStarcom and Turin, as they beat out competing products from Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), according to Cameron Christian, VP of marketing at Idacomm.

UTStarcom says it has about 10 optical transport customers in the U.S. The company has been selling its Turin-based line since May.

Turin's other OEM partner -- Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) -- has sold some Turin-based gear to Altice One Group, one of France’s leading cable operators. Motorola has become an investor in Turin, in addition to using its technology to develop an optical transport solution for cable providers (see Motorola Deal Plugs In Turin and Motorola Gets Tighter With Turin).

Table 1: Turin's Sonet Transport Attack
Company 20-Slot Chassis 16-Slot Chassis 6-Slot Chassis
Turin Networks Traverse 2000 Traverse 1600 Traverse 600
Motorola MBT-5400 MBT-5000 MBT-500
UTStarcom NetRing TX-200 NetRing TX-160 NetRing TX-60
Source: Company Data

Turin has about 125 employees now and has raised more than $160 million to date. The company has raised about $25 million in funding in the past nine months, the last bit of which will close later this month, a Turin spokesman says.

The company has about 70 customers to date and has been able to make nice headway as an Ethernet-over-Sonet supplier to independent operating companies (IOCs) and cable MSOs without being trounced by Cisco, the next-generation Sonet bellwether.

Turin equipment lacks Resilient Packet Ring Technology support, but the company plans to support the technology soon, according to Heavy Reading's analysis, released last month (see The Money's on MSPPs). "Turin’s product line is sufficiently broad for a startup and is focused primarily on access and metro, which has been a successful strategy for Turin as it penetrates the smaller LECs in the U.S.," writes chief analyst Scott Clavenna, in the Heavy Reading report, The Future of Sonet/SDH.

UTStarcom should be a nice relationship for Turin, as the company continues to compete with other well-partnered Sonet transport startups such as Luminous Networks Inc. (which is linked to Ciena Corp.) and White Rock Networks Inc. (which is linked to Tellabs Inc.).

Table 2: Sonet Startup Scorecard
Vendor Access CLE MSPP Product Breadth (1-5)
Luminous Networks E200
PacketStream 2
Turin Networks Traverse 600 Traverse 1600
Traverse 2000
White Rock Networks N/A VLX 2010
VLX 2020
Source: Heavy Reading

Unlike Motorola, UTStarcom hasn't invested in Turin. But its recent acquisition of 3Com Corp.'s (Nasdaq: COMS) Commworks division gives it enough sales and support folks to make some more noise in the U.S. market (see UTStarcom Cops CommWorks). Based on feedback from carriers so far, UTStarcom says it will bring in between $60 million and $70 million in North American sales next year across its U.S.-focused product lines, which includes the Turin-based gear.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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