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Viking Victory for Infinera

Ray Le Maistre
4/30/2009

Telia Company is the latest Tier 1 operator to turn to Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) for a next-generation optical network, the Scandinavian operator revealed today.

But the carrier's not deploying Infinera's revolutionary PIC system in Europe. Instead, its Telia Carrier subsidiary will use the vendor's gear to build a new nationwide optical backbone in the U.S., where it has had an extensive, 14,000-kilometer wholesale network, known as the Viking network, for some years.

Regina Donato-Lundgren, VP and head of IP production at TeliaSonera International Carrier's broadband services division, tells Light Reading the carrier will replace and migrate away from its present infrastructure during the next two years.

She says the current network, which provides services mainly to European wholesale customers needing capacity in the U.S., is running at close to capacity, and that TIC needed to future-proof its network to cope with increasing demand and to meet its aspirations of being one of the top three global IP carriers.

With TIC's European infrastructure recently upgraded, the operator needed to upgrade its U.S. network, and so spent a year assessing its technology options and decided to go with Infinera as its sole optical infrastructure supplier.

Donato-Lundgren says the RFI (request for information) process was "extensive," and that all the major international vendors, including the incumbent vendor, were involved in the process.

The TeliaSonera executive, who will be managing the new build remotely from Sweden, declined to identify the incumbent supplier that's being supplanted, but a quick check in the telecom news archives finds that Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is the loser on this occasion, with Lucent having landed a deal in February 2002 to supply the carrier with DWDM equipment.

So why Infinera?

Donato-Lundgren says that while a number of vendors presented next-generation optical capabilities -- that can "manage the merger" of IP and optical -- "Infinera was the only company that could show it operationally... In terms of products, Infinera's was the only future-proof product we saw."

Other factors that influenced the carrier's choice were the ability to add extra capacity quickly using the DTN platform -- a capability praised by other Infinera customers -- and the relatively small form factor. (See Interoute Deploys Infinera.)

"It has a small footprint and low power consumption. That's a definite advantage as we don't own our own sites in the U.S."

Infinera says TeliaSonera is one of the new major European customers mentioned during the recent earnings conference call, and that it has now named three of the six national carrier customers it has globally, with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Greece's OTE S.A. the other two that have been identified. (See Infinera Dampens Q2 Expectations, Oteglobe Selects Infinera, and Infinera Wins DT, Loses the Day.)

Commercial terms of the TeliaSonera deal have not been disclosed by either party.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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