Packet One looks to ZTE

Malaysian operator Packet One Networks (P1) says it is entering into a WiMAX technology partnership with Chinese vendor ZTE. The partnership, which will be formalised next week, is reportedly part of P1’s efforts to accelerate expansion of its WiMAX network.

P1’s first WiMAX deal was with Alcatel-Lucent. In January 2008 the operator announced it had picked the Paris-headquartered supplier to provide an ‘end-to-end WiMAX wireless broadband solution’, a deal valued at RM320m (approximately $71m at the time).

Alcatel-Lucent recently announced, however, that it would be focusing all its ‘4G’ mobility efforts on LTE, preferring to use WiMAX for fixed and nomadic applications only. This may have been a factor in P1’s decision to go with ZTE, which appears fully committed to mobile WiMAX.

At the Mobile World Congress 2009 event in Barcelona, a ZTE spokesperson told WiMAX Vision that the Chinese firm was already talking to some of Alcatel-Lucent’s WiMAX customers.

P1 acquired its WiMAX licence in March 2007, giving it a 30MHz chunk of spectrum across Peninsular Malaysia in the 2.3GHz frequency band.

In an e-mail exchange with WiMAX Vision earlier this year, Michael Lai, P1 CEO, said: “Our target is to cover 25 per cent of Malaysia by 2009, 40 percent by 2010 and 60 percent by 2012. This is in line with the Malaysian government’s national broadband plan to provide broadband access to 50 percent of Malaysian households by 2010.”

Since its licence award, P1 has been building up a number of strategic partnerships to add extra clout to its WiMAX presence. These partnerships include Oracle Systems (billing and revenue management) and EMC Corporation (IT infrastructure). It has also signed agreements with Fiberail (the owner of a nationwide fiber-optic network in Malaysia), and AIMS Asia (an internet transit provider). Fiberail gives P1 a quicker route to market through access to its high-speed network for backhaul and core transmission, while AIMS gives P1 voice and data interconnect capability with local and international service providers.

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