Marconi Comms settles into Australasian market

Broadband specialist Marconi Communications' local arm received a boost this month with the news that Telstra had signed a new contract with Siemens for the supply of telecommunications transmission equipment.

Telstra's latest contract with Siemens, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, covers synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) equipment and wave division multiplexing (WDM) equipment to support the carrier's network expansion over the next three years.

Marconi will supply Siemens with SDH equipment for Telstra, including a Series 3 synchronous multiplexer, an SDH Extender which will provide Telstra with the option to give customers direct access to the SDH network, and the Equipment Management Operations System -- a Unix-based, object-oriented network management system.

"Telstra is one of our larger and most important customers," said Tim Gereets, marketing manager, Marconi, explaining that the company has been supplying SDH technology to the carrier through Siemens for the past five years.

Meanwhile, Marconi is still growing its team in Australia, currently standing at 20, having set up a permanent office here earlier this year. "Australia is one of the first places Marconi Communications is setting up its direct presence outside of continental Europe," Gereets said. "That should give you some indication of how we rate the Australian territory in general, not just the larger players," he said.

The company is hoping for success with its new range of photonic equipment, which uses WDM to increase bandwidth of optical fibre networks.

A seven-year global deal with Ericsson, signed this month, should boost business significantly. Under the deal Ericsson has agreed to market Marconi's full range of SDH transmission equipment to Ericsson customers worldwide, integrating Marconi SDH technology into mobile and fixed network backbones, as well as into IP networks. Sources estimate the deal to be worth 100 million pounds sterling this year, with potential to be worth one billion pounds sterling over the life of the deal.

Meanwhile, Marconi is working on maximising the potential of parent company GEC's acquisition of Fore Systems for $US 4.5 billion in May 1999. According to Gereets, the acquisition completes Marconi's product range by allowing the company to offer IP and ATM solutions, in addition to SDH technology.

And GEC is on the look out for more acquisitions.

"We haven't stopped yet," Gereets said. "We're ploughing a lot of money into the comms side of the equation."

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More about Ericsson AustraliaFore SystemsGECMarconiMarconi CommunicationsSiemensTelstra Corporation

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