By Vineetha Menon
Michel Clement, leader for the Southern Europe and MEA region, talks about why he's confident that Nortel will come out on top in the Middle East.
Nortel, a global provider of communications solutions and products, has big plans to make its presence felt in the Middle East.
While they've faced stiff competition from traditional service providers who have had a longer presence in the region, Michel Clement, Nortel's leader for Southern Europe and MEA, is confident of coming out on top.
Which product or solution from your vast portfolio is generating the most interest here?
Ideally, we would like all of them to get attention but Nortel is known in the Middle East for its enterprise solutions. We have been trying to penetrate the carrier part of the business with some success seen with Saudi Telecom and Zain in Kuwait.
In the area of core networks, we were not available to penetrate the Middle East market as it was difficult to convince the strong players. However, we will soon launch a major breakthrough with a key regional carrier for core technology that will bring in the multimedia competencies of Nortel. Further in the year, we hope to announce another win with another major carrier in the Middle East in the same core area.
What challenges are you facing in the Middle East?
The biggest challenge has been convincing the market that we are serious. We have very strong partnerships for our other solutions and we have to convince the carriers here. Our new wins will definitely open the door to service providers and prove that we are very serious about the market.
You've just launched the WDM-PON Ethernet Access solution - what are your plans for this technology?
We launched WDM-PON almost a week ago but, in reality, we're already operating the solution through carriers in Europe. It's not new for our customers because we've been working on this technology for 3 or 4 years now.
We're attracting a lot of interest for this technology from the carriers in the Middle East and the feedback is very good because it's a general consensus that this technology could become the next generation of optical solutions.
Does Nortel think SMBs or large corporates is the way forward?
We service all the different sizes of organizations because we have a full range of products. Our focus is the same for all sizes, but the way we approach the market is not - you can't address SMBs the way you approach corporates.
Nortel is engaged on the WIMAX front and will be looking at it for specific situations, potentially in Africa. But in the long-term, we are engaged in fourth-generation LTE.
LTE is a key evolution in which Nortel wants to play an important role. We've already announced a trial with Verizon Wireless in North America, which will take place in Q1 next year, and we've just announced another major trial with a German operator.