Rumor: AT&T, Verizon Near Vendor Choices

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are on the cusp of some important vendor choices, according to Avian Securities LLC analyst Catharine Trebnick. She shared some insights into how those decisions might play out in a research note issued Thursday, which also included her take on the U.S. capex trends for 2010. (See Analyst: US Capex to Inch Up in 2010.)

  • Verizon is set to pin down a shortlist of vendors for its core packet-optical rollout some time during the first quarter of this year, believes Trebnick. She believes Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is best placed currently, with Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) (including Nortel Networks Ltd. 's optical assets), ECI Telecom Ltd. , Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) in the chasing pack. Verizon may want the optical players to team up with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) or Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) "for 100 GigE interfaces," notes the analyst.

    Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin wrote in September last year that Verizon had "done an excellent job defining the requirements for these new core packet-optical elements." (See Packet Optical Transport Goes for the Long Haul.)

  • Verizon has been focusing on the data traffic security in its mobile network as it prepares to roll out its next-generation, Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Trebnick believes Verizon Wireless is deploying Juniper SRX firewalls as part of an as yet unannounced three-year deal. (See When Will Verizon Launch LTE in 2010?)

  • AT&T is considering a revamp of its VoIP infrastructure, a move that would help it address the thorny issue of voice over LTE. (See Voice Over LTE's Future Cloudy and Forum Tackles Voice Over LTE.)

    AT&T is among the carriers that have backed the One Voice initiative, which is working on an IMS-based approach to solving the voice-over-LTE issue. (See Operators Rally Round IMS for LTE Voice.)

    The carrier has issued a request for information (RFI) to the relevant vendors, believes Trebnick, so the potential VoIP architecture refresh is still in its very early stages.

    The main vendors in the loop here include AlcaLu, Genband Inc. (which is hoping to buy Nortel's VoIP assets), Nokia Networks , and, of course, AT&T's incumbent supplier Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS). (See Genband Bids $282M for Nortel's VoIP Unit and Nortel VoIP Auction Set for Late Feb.)

  • The analyst expects Cisco to be awarded AT&T's enterprise femtocell deal in the coming months. Cisco, which sources its femtocell module from ip.access Ltd. , has long been linked to AT&T's micro base station plans. (See AT&T on Track for Femto Launch.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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