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Alca-Lu dumped by Singapore NBN

Replaced by rival ZTE

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Chinese vendor ZTE has gazumped Alcatel-Lucent in the pivotal OSS and BSS contract for Singapore's next-generation nationwide broadband network (NBN).

Alcatel-Lucent was dumped from the Singapore NBN project after months of speculation over missed deadlines and alleged failure to deliver on contractual obligations.

The move adds another galling blow to the vendor in the ongoing fallout from its corruption charges globally and in the region.

Earlier this month, a legislative committee asked Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest carrier, to step in and oversee the operations of the Taiwan subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent to prevent questionable business practices.

While in Malaysia, the vendor has been banned from bidding on any new telecommunications contracts for a year by Telekom Malaysia and mobile operator Axiata.

However in Australia, where former Alcatel Lucent senior executives Mike Quigley and Jean-Pascal Beaufret have emerged as the respective CEO and CFO at NBN Co, the vendor has secured lead supplier status with the national broadband rollout in a $1.5 billion GPON equipment and services deal.

NBN Co selected IBM as the prime systems integrator of its OSS/BSS. However, eyes will be closely watching whether the ejection of Alcatel-Lucent from the NBN in Singapore will have any effect on the Australian NBN project.

In Singapore, ZTE will now replace Alcatel-Lucent and roll out the BSS/OSS platforms with NBN operations arm Nucleus Connect.

Nucleus Connect CEO David Storrie said in a statement: “As the OpCo, Nucleus Connect is responsible for the Active Optical Network (AON) infrastructure, including switches and transmission equipment, and also to resell the bandwidth to the third-layer RSPs (Retail Service Providers). It’s critical for us to work with a trusted partner like ZTE who can help us develop a reliable, future-proof, turnkey solution to support our RSPs.”

Alcatel-Lucent was awarded the lucrative tender in September 2009, and was tasked with providing a full turn-key Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) OSS/BSS solution to Nucleus Connect, including software, hardware and professional services, to support its operations and business models.

At the time, local managing director Oliver Foo said the vendor "will leverage our experience worldwide in delivering end-to-end networks, along with our in-depth understanding of how operations and business support systems should be integrated with the active network, to create the smooth interaction of Nucleus Connect’s business model including processes, workflows and interfaces with the Network Company and the RSPs, in the aggressive roll-out of the Next Gen NBN.”

Speaking at Communicasia in Singapore on Tuesday ahead of the announcement, Storrie admitted, "there have been some teething problems that we're now smoothing out. Until you get to operation you don't see the holes. It's easy in hindsight, but you don't always catch all the holes when you're building the network." &reg

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