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Infinera Bolsters COLT's Backbone

Pan-European operator deploys Infinera's long-distance optical gear in double-quick time, but Infinera's gain spells bad news for Nortel

Craig Matsumoto

June 22, 2009

3 Min Read
Infinera Bolsters COLT's Backbone

Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) has scored another major carrier win in Europe, landing a deal with pan-European business services operator Colt Technology Services Group Ltd .

Infinera's gear will be installed in all six of COLT's subnetworks across Europe. The first phase of deployment, which includes four of the subnets and covers major cities in eight countries -- Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. -- was completed in less than 90 days.

Deployment to all six subnets should be finished by the end of July, COLT CTO Alireza Mahmoodshahi tells Light Reading.

With normal DWDM equipment, the job would have taken 15 to 18 months, due in part to the fact that more gear would be required, he says. "To be able to do these things at the speed we have done with Infinera products is unheard of," says the CTO, though other operators have also stressed the deployment speed attributes of Infinera's technology. (See Brits Build Backbone With Infinera , Viking Victory for Infinera , and Interoute Deploys Infinera.)

While this is all good news for Infinera, it also means there's an existing long-distance optical equipment supplier at COLT that's failed to extend its incumbency: The carrier confirms that Nortel Networks Ltd. , currently preoccupied with other matters, is the incumbent in this instance. (See Nortel: It's All Up for Sale.)

COLT is implementing an ambitious strategy Mahmoodshahi has named "Next Generation Solutions" (NGS). The work has involved the creation of new Ethernet and VoIP services, with vendors like Nokia Networks and Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) playing publicly announced roles. (See Colt Unveils NGN Vendors, Sonus Nears NGN Role at Colt, and More Rides Coming on Colt's NGN.)

"The optical layer we're using with Infinera is supporting what we're doing with Ethernet multiservice provisioning," Mahmoodshahi says. "In order to do things on-demand as capacity increases, you can't wait days to put in a lambda."

Infinera's equipment will also be used for offering wavelength services, he says. "We do have customers that have signed up and are already using the service."

You can find out more about COLT's next-generation services strategy in this recent video interview with Mahmoodshahi:


For the past two quarters, Infinera has said it's racking up new customer wins, some of them big, including three new European customers signed in March, for instance. That's good news, of course, but it leads to lower margins in the short term, because Infinera makes less profit on the sale of the base chassis than on the cards that populate it as deployments mature. (See Infinera Dampens Q2 Expectations and Infinera Anchored by New Wins.)

Infinera's largest customer at first was Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), but its significant wins lately have been in Europe. Its most noteworthy customer is Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), and recently Infinera announced wins with Telia Company and the smaller euNetworks Group Ltd. . (See Infinera Wins DT, Loses the Day, Viking Victory for Infinera , and Infinera Bags Euro Action.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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