Ciena says TE Subcom relationship is raising its submarine cable profile

fiber optical (Pixabay)

Ciena may not be a traditional submarine cable supplier, but the service provider continues to find opportunities to apply its optical knowledge to cable system suppliers.

Gary Smith, president and CEO of Ciena, told investors during its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call that the submarine cable market is set to see further growth throughout the remainder of 2017 and beyond.

Ciena Smith
Gary Smith

“We actually think that that market over the next few years will be, excuse the pun, quite buoyant starting in '17,” Smith said during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “We’re already seeing that ride the way through the next two to three years and the lead times on these cables are obviously very long given the logistics involved in it.”

Smith added that “we think we’re well placed to continue to consolidate that position there.”

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However, Ciena isn’t completely going it alone in the submarine cabling market.

In November 2016, Ciena established a submarine cable services alliance with TE Subcom that the two companies said furthers the open submarine cable networking solutions trend.

Submarine cable customers that want a single point of contact for both wet plant and dry plant will have the option to combine TE SubCom’s advanced wet plant designs and marine installation with Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform.

This alliance was in part driven by TE SubCom’s Open Cables business model, which allows customers the flexibility to select their preferred submarine transceiver equipment vendor. TE SubCom noted that since the launch of its Open Cables business model, the company has seen an increasing number of cable operators take advantage of its Open Cables approach and elect to use Ciena equipment.

While Ciena did not reveal any specific submarine contracts gained through its relationship with TE SubCom, Smith said its relationship with TE SubCom illustrates how its products are resonating with submarine cable operators that want to operate high speed optical cable systems.

“The relationship specifically with TE is designed for what we now see as a shift in not just upgrades but also that people are having to build new cables just for sheer capacity demands around the globe,” Smith said. “And what we’re seeing in these first few wins with TE is really a validation of that relationship and our ability to get into a new part of that market for us, which is these new cable builds which typically we didn’t have much visibility too.”

Besides working with TE Subcom, Ciena has also been finding success working with other partners like NEC. The vendor is supplying its GeoMesh solution to enable 100 wavelength services for DOCOMO Pacific’s ATISA submarine cable.