Huawei sources: FTTH efforts drive greater GPON interest in China

NOVEMBER 30, 2010 By Stephen Hardy — Huawei sources say that growing interest in fiber to the home (FTTH) deployments by major Chinese carriers will increase the demand for GPON technology in the company’s home markets.

Wan Junhua, director, Access Product Line Marketing Department at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen, told Lightwave Group Publisher Susan Smith during Lightwave China’s recent FTTH China Conference that carriers such as China Telecom and China Unicom have begun FTTH deployments this year. Previous deployments had focused on fiber to the building (FTTB) using EPON technology. However, GPON appears the technology of choice for FTTH, Wan said — which should spur increased demand for GPON in the near term.

Wan estimated FTTH deployments compose 10% of the current Chinese market. But that number could double by 2012, he predicted.

A similar scenario that favors FTTH over FTTB will play out in other Asian countries with aggressive national broadband plans, Wan added. He pointed to Malaysia and Singapore as examples. However, the overall Asian picture continues to favor FTTB deployments, he maintained.

Grace Wu, senior marketing manager in Huawei’s Marketing Department, NW, added that an increase in GPON sales within China would bring the country more in line with what Huawei sees globally. Wu said Huawei’s global GPON and EPON sales are roughly equal. EPON dominates in China but GPON is more popular throughout the rest of the world, Wu said.

Outside of Asia, Huawei has seen particular success for its Single Fiber Access Network (Single FAN) strategy in Europe and the Middle East (see “BT signs for more FTTX gear from Huawei” and “Etisalat, Huawei test 10G GPON” for examples). The heart of the Single FAN concept is a single platform designed to address multiple applications, architectures, and media types. The flexibility of the platform simplifies network architectures and decision-making for customers and enables Huawei to play in a variety of markets, Wan explained.

One market that Huawei hopes to penetrate more deeply is North America. Wan says the company has established a beach head in North America through equipment sales to Canada’s Telus (primarily for radio access network and WiFi applications). However, it still has to acquire all the necessary certifications to be able to address the full scope of potential customers. He said the company’s strategy includes a close study of the needs of North American customers with the hope that it can build awareness and credibility via small wins.

That credibility will at least partially rest on whether Huawei can overcome concerns regarding its relationship with the Chinese government and whether that relationship represents a security risk. Wan emphasized during the interview that Huawei is an independent company that has not received funding from the Chinese government.

More insights from Susan Smith’s travels in China can be found in her recent blog post.

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