The international carrier arm of Scandanavian giant TeliaSonera AB (ETR:TLS, news, filings) has chosen to deploy gear from Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) in its US network. This is the second Tier-1 European carrier customer announced by Infinera, the first was Deutsche Telecom last summer. Like all gear makers, Infinera has seen revenues recede due to carrier spending, but while existing customers may be delaying expansions they have been doing pretty well with new customers, and that will give them some extra mojo when the rebound finally arrives.
Now, I had forgotten that TeliaSonera still had dark fiber in the US, as most European carriers returned their fiber when the last bubble burst. TeliaSonera, however, apparently kept their fiber and continued to operate it, albeit quietly, as a part of their restructured international network. That fiber has its roots, I believe, in a swap with Williams Communications Group back in 2000. Under that deal, Telia gained the rights to fiber on the Williams backbone and Williams gained dark fiber/wavelength rights on the Telia network in Europe. Williams never actually used their fiber IRUs in Europe, but Telia supposedly lit it with Lucent gear and called it the ‘Viking’ network in early 2002. That was just in time for the bottom to fall out of the bandwidth market of course, and Viking fell off the radar soon thereafter – for me at least.
TeliaSonera International Carrier’s “Viking” network probably, therefore, now lies entirely within the footprint of Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings). Does anyone know if this is still the case? As one of the earliest and largest Infinera customers, Level 3 knows this gear inside out and TeliaSonera doesn’t have a large workforce at its disposal in the US – I wonder if Level 3 is helping them with the upgrade…
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