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Nortel warns Telstra winners

Nortel Networks was disappointed to miss out in Telstra's recent round of billion dollar networking hardware contracts, but last week warned the winners they had better shape up or face being shipped out. Back in November, Telstra chose Cisco, Ericsson and Alcatel as key vendors to participate in a raft of billion dollar network buildouts around the nation.
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Written by Renai LeMay on
Nortel Networks was disappointed to miss out in Telstra's recent round of billion dollar networking hardware contracts, but last week warned the winners they had better shape up or face being shipped out.

Back in November, Telstra chose Cisco, Ericsson and Alcatel as key vendors to participate in a raft of billion dollar network buildouts around the nation.

"That was a disappointment. That was an area that we were looking to expand on," Nortel's Australia and New Zealand president Mark Stevens said in an interview with ZDNet Australia last week.

"The big onus on the people that won those contracts is to be able to deliver and demonstrate what they can achieve," he warned his competitors.

Stevens said despite the defeat Nortel would continue to seek the heavyweight's business in different areas.

"Literally last week I was talking to some senior Telstra people about some other areas which we could be exploring, particularly as we start talking about some of the software capabilities of our switches," he said.

He also pointed out Nortel was still providing hardware for Telstra's mobile telephony CDMA network, including EV-DO hardware which upgrades the network for wireless broadband. The network is gradually being replaced by Ericsson with a higher-speed third-generation (3G) equivalent.

"If you were to talk to Telstra, they would see the prime mechanism by which they will get market share in the short term is by deploying EV-DO, and they will continue to do that," said Stevens.

Stevens also claimed an increasingly hostile attitude from Telstra towards its wholesale customers since the telco's new management came on board in the middle of last year was driving other opportunities for Nortel.

"Alternate operators are trying to figure out where they sit in the market place and what they need to do," he said. "In the past, they might have leased services or infrastructure, now maybe they'll build."

Stevenson said Nortel was working with virtually all of the tier two telcos.

In the same interview, Stevenson outlined Nortel's intent to do more business with Cisco stalwart Alphawest, capitalising on what Stevens said was a good relationship with the services company's new owner, Optus.

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