The fastest growing mobile operator in Saudi Arabia, with 40 percent share of the mobile market, has selected Ciena as its gear provider. For Ciena, the Mobily contract is also a “poster child deal“ for showcasing the combined portfolio of Ciena’s native switching offerings and Nortel’s Metro Ethernet transport assets that Ciena won at auction after the Canadian supplier’s bankruptcy. Call it a big win for the "new Ciena."
Mobily’s network will take advantage of Ciena’s LE-311v Service Delivery Switch, ActivEdge 5410 Service Aggregation Switch and ActivEdge 3900 series of Service Delivery Switches to support Carrier Ethernet-based mobile backhaul and Ethernet business services. Moreover, Mobily will leverage network management and maintenance services from Ciena’s Specialist Services practice, which deliver critical network operations and support functions.
The deal also marks the first publicly announced deployments of Ciena’s next-generation 5430 Reconfigurable Switching System and ActivEdge 5410 Service Aggregation Switch, which will be used for an initial transport capacity increase of up to 40 Gbps per wavelength, with a seamless upgrade path to 100 Gbps as bandwidth requirements change over time. Converging layers zero, one and two, the Ciena platforms will also allow Mobily to cost-effectively deploy a combination of TDM and data services, while providing a smooth migration path to a fully packet-switched environment, including packet-optical switching capacity increases of up to 3.6 Tbps that can scale up to 7.2 Tbps as the carrier’s requirements evolve.
“If we look at the three different pieces we’re putting in there, you can see this is a portfolio-wide win," said Tom Mock senior vice president of marketing at Ciena, in an interview with B/OSS. “We acquired the MEN assets from Nortel which we’re using for the 40G and 100G deployment with coherent networking. To allocate the bandwidth we’re using the 5500 series of switching products, with OTN switching. And then our Carrier Ethernet service delivery family will aggregate traffic or connect to LTE base stations using Ethernet."
There have been a few other cross-portfolio deployments for the vendor, Mock said, but this “is a case where all of the different elements get used. We’re picking what pieces of the portfolio can come together for a common harmonious infrastructure. This is the poster-child deal for that."
The Nortel acquisition is indeed starting to bear fruit, after a lot of tough decisions. Ciena has quickly performed the integration and has hastened to be as open as possible with existing and prospective clients about what the combined portfolio looks like. “One of the things out customers told us is, ‘you guys have got to keep the lights on,'" said Mock. “The second thing is, we know you guys are going to have to make decisions on the portfolio. What are they? They needed to know because these are multiyear commitments they have in place."
As for new business, the Nortel acquisition has contributed to Ciena’s transition from being a predominantly a North American company. “Historically, 75 percent of our business was in North America, and in our last quarter 50 percent of new business was coming from outside," Mock said. “This deal sums up the momentum, as a cross-portfolio win and a significant deal in the Middle East."