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Packet core

Asia Watch: Cisco's Theatre of Dreams

With China's telecom overhaul presenting such abundant opportunities in the near, medium, and long term, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has reorganized its Asia/Pacific operations into three groups, or "Theatres," with one focused on opportunities in the giant Chinese market.

But Cisco's not the only company making moves in APAC today, as there's M&A action in Bangladesh, the latest in India's 3G spectrum saga, and some interesting vendor choices.

Cisco's new APAC stage
Cisco has split out a new business unit from its Asia/Pacific Theatre that will concentrate on business opportunities in the People's Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The other units are the Japan Theatre (as before), and the now slimmed-down Asia/Pacific Theatre. Together, the three business units generate about 15 percent of Cisco's total revenues. (See Cisco Restructures in Asia/Pac.)

The new Theatre will be headed by Owen Chan, who has been president of Cisco Asia/Pacific for the past five years. The current head of Japan, Edzard Overbeek, will also now take on responsibility for the Asia/Pacific Theatre.

Cisco has been looking to boost its focus on, and presence in, China for some time, and recently acquired Chinese set-top box maker DVN. (See What Does Cisco See in China's DVN?)

In addition to the potential for its IP-routing business (with enterprise as well as telco customers), China's three main carriers, as well as the mobile operators in Hong Kong and Taiwan, all provide significant opportunities for Cisco's new mobile packet core business (formerly Starent), which has developed a platform suited for the migration from 3G to LTE and other next-generation mobile data technologies. (See 3G Fuels Mobile Packet Core, China Pumps $15B Into 3G, Cisco Sews Up Starent, Cisco to Buy Starent for $2.9B, and Evolved Packet Core for LTE.)

Bharti moves into Bangladesh
India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) has expanded across the border into Bangladesh, where it has taken a 70 percent stake in the country's fourth-largest mobile operator, Warid Telecom, for $300 million. (See Bharti Buys Stake in Warid.)

The move had been expected, with Bharti executives having been busy in meetings in Bangladesh since the turn of the year. (See Asia Watch: Buy Me, I'm Hot!)

Bharti says the move represents its "intent to further expand our operations to international markets," which the company has been doing with its international Ethernet services offerings, though this move is somewhat less dramatic than the abandoned attempt(s) to merge with African powerhouse MTN Group Ltd. . (See Bharti Airtel Intros Int'l Ethernet and Bharti, MTN Abandon $23B Merger.)

Other news of interest from the region includes:

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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