3Com spin-off sets up HQ in Singapore

Commworks Corp., the carrier division that was spun off from 3Com . in December last year, has announced its presence in the Asia-Pacific region with Singapore as its regional headquarters.

The company has also set up a product integration center here to facilitate turnaround times, reduce shipping costs and customize configurations for customer-specific requirements, said Sanjiv Verma, general manager of South Asia, CommWorks, who is based in Singapore.

Speaking at a press briefing last week, Ben Cardwell, managing director for South Asia, explained that the separation is inevitable for two reasons. "We want to focus on the service providers space and try to be on direct-touch fashion with carrier customers. We have to be extremely intimate with them so that they also leverage on totally integrated IP (Internet protocol) platform services," he said.

Cardwell also cited "pure branding" as another motive for the spin-off. "3Com's 'radical simplicity' message -- which targets consumers -- does not work for the carrier business and we would like to build a stronger brand around the service provider space," he said.

Simon Chew, an analyst at International Data Corp. (IDC) noted that the carrier division of 3Com had suffered a lack of market awareness. "3Com's got it right to get intimate with the carriers and telcos," he said.

"CommWorks will edge out and will ring in the market. It makes sense to target the telecommunications area because if there is any industry that will push Asia-Pacific, it is the telecommunications industry largely due to the huge infrastructure investments made here," Chew added.

CommWorks will focus exclusively on IP services.

"We build IP networks for service providers that deliver enhanced data and voice services through dial, wireless and broadband access," said Cardwell. These networks are based on a flexible and open architecture that allows service providers to build their networks as they see fit.

The spin-off targets Internet telephony service providers, Internet service providers, application service providers, competitive local exchange carriers, wireless service providers and multiple system operators.

While CommWorks' head office in the U.S. is now a separate entity, Cardwell said the Asia-Pacific quarters remains a wholly owned subsidiary of 3Com and will continue to leverage on 3Com's financial and technical strengths. "However, we are in the process of achieving operational independence from 3Com."

Said Chew, "It makes sense for them to stay within 3Com first. Think about the overheads, infrastructure investment and other operational processes that a new company would have to work on."

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