Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei has spotted an opportunity in New Zealand’s unbundling to increase its penetration of the local market. The company, which opened its first New Zealand office at the end of 2005 and now has six or seven local staff, is undertaking a trial of its IP DSLAMs with Vodafone’s internet arm ihug ahead of local loop unbundling. Huawei is a global technology partner of Vodafone and is now able to use that company’s famous about face into fixed line broadband to drive its DSLAM equipment business here and overseas. ISPs across New Zealand will be seeking to roll out DSLAMs into Telecom’s exchanges to build their fixed line broadband capabilities and, eventually, reduce costs. Huawei has also inked a deal with telecommunications upstart Econet to be a major partner in that company’s proposed wireless network build, says Australasian assistant managing director Harry Hou. Alcatel has dominated the fixed line equipment business in New Zealand by virtue of its relationship with Telecom while on the wireless equipment side Ericsson and Nokia tend to dominate. However, Huawei claims to have led the IP DSLAM market worldwide for the last three years, with 28% market share in the latest period. “New Zealand broadband penetration is not so high and that is a potential opportunity for us,” says Lim Chee Siong, Huawei’s fixed broadband and access network director. “People are looking for leading technology at lower cost.” In addition to riding the unbundling wave, Huawei says it is well positioned to deliver into a market where fixed, mobile and IP are converging rapidly. The two executive, who were in New Zealand to make connections at the Broadband and Next Generation Networks conference held in Auckland last week, say they are “working on” Telecom as well “We hope to become the automatic choice,” he says. Huawei, which is based in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, was established in 1988 as a small importer of communications equipment. Its first offshore customer, Hutchison-Whampoa, came in 1996 and by 2004 offshore sales exceeded domestic sales. In 2006 global sales reaches $US11 billion. Huawei is still a private company.
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