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Edited Transcript of INFN earnings conference call or presentation 7-Aug-18 9:00pm GMT

Q2 2018 Infinera Corp Earnings Call

SUNNYVALE Aug 21, 2018 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Infinera Corp earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 9:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Brad D. Feller

Infinera Corporation - CFO

* David F. Welch

Infinera Corporation - Co-Founder, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer and Director

* Jeff Hustis

Infinera Corporation - Head of IR

* Thomas J. Fallon

Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander Henderson

Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* George Charles Notter

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst

* Jeffrey Thomas Kvaal

Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - MD

* Jim Suva

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director

* Meta A. Marshall

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP

* Roderick B. Hall

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD

* Samik Chatterjee

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst

* Simon Matthew Leopold

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Timothy Paul Savageaux

Northland Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Vijay Krishna Bhagavath

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - VP and Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Welcome to the Second Quarter Year 2018 Investment Community Conference call Of Infinera Corporation. (Operator Instructions) Today's call is being recorded. If anyone has any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Jeff Hustis of Infinera Investor Relations. Jeff, you may begin.

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Jeff Hustis, Infinera Corporation - Head of IR [2]

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Thank you, Andrea. Welcome to Infinera's second quarter of fiscal 2018 conference call. A copy of today's earnings and CFO commentary are available on the Investor Relations section of our website. Additionally, this call is being recorded and will be available for replay from the website.

Today's call will include projections and estimates that constitute forward-looking statements, including statements about our business, plans, products and strategy as well as statements about our pending question of Coriant. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause Infinera's results to differ materially from management's current expectations. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various risk factors as included in our most recently filed 10-Q as well as the earnings release and CFO commentary furnished with our 8-K filed today. Please be reminded that all statements are made as of today and Infinera undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this call. Today's conference call includes certain non-GAAP financial measures pursuant to Regulation G. Infinera has provided a reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures in its second quarter earnings release and CFO commentary.

I'll now turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Tom Fallon.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [3]

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Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us on our second quarter 2018 conference call. Joining me today are Brad Feller and Dave Welch. Today, I'll review our performance in the second quarter, provide commentary on recent wins and future opportunities and cover progress on our pending acquisition of Coriant. I'll then turn the call over to Brad, who will provide a more detailed financial review of our outlook for the remainder of the year.

I was very pleased with our financial performance in Q2 as we delivered strong results relative to guidance including our fifth consecutive quarter of sequential revenue growth. Revenue of $208 million was up 18% year-over-year and 3% sequentially off an extremely strong first quarter, driven by strength from our cable customers and growth from our Tier 1 customers in all regions.

In Q2, our ICE4 products continued to be a significant contributor to sequential growth and grew again as a percentage of our overall revenue mix. ICE4 products were also key in lowering our internal cost structure and driving non-GAAP gross margins of 44% at the top of our guidance range.

As a reminder, our unique vertically integrated operating model enables us to sustain a relative margin advantage with each new generation of ICE technology. I'm pleased that we completed our full ICE4 product release in Q2, starting to ship our 2.4 terabit XT-3600 for revenue. Similar to our experience with ICE3, our expectation is that revenue from ICE4 products will grow for many years with steady cost structure improvement as we ramp volume.

In Q2, we converted several ICE4 opportunities to revenue with our AOFx 1200, enabling our customers to seamlessly add significant capacity to their networks with simple card swaps. Based on a solid trial activity, particularly with service providers, we anticipate strong growth from ICE4 products will continue in the second half of 2018. These successful product launches are a key factor in our positive outlook for the second half of 2018 and beyond.

Before we move on to more detail on the Coriant acquisition, we're going to spend some time highlighting some major new customer wins that will drive strong multiyear revenue. These wins demonstrate the differentiation of our technology and customer receptivity to our refreshed product portfolio. Coming off a robust first half and armed with a deep pipeline of new opportunities, we are entering into this acquisition with strong momentum. In subsea, we had a record bookings quarter in Q2, which, given longer relative deployment cycles in subsea, bodes well for market share and revenue in upcoming quarters. Having recently set the leading capacity benchmark on a transatlantic subsea fiber link, our ICE4 technology is proving compelling to subsea customers. On this front, we are on track to deploy a significant subsea and long-haul ICE4 network with a significant Tier 1 in Asia. This was a competitive displacement and a clear example that Infinera's low total cost of ownership value proposition resonates in markets globally. This customer has embraced open architectures, loves the ease of use of our solutions and will utilize instant bandwidth, which provides the ability to match the capacity they buy with current demand on their network. We have plans of deploying this footprint in Q3 of 2018, with capacity additions expected in 2019 and beyond.

With our CX2, we recently won our first major deal with a global financial enterprise for deployment with Instant Bandwidth. Additionally, we recently won a sizable footprint expansion with our largest ICP customer that will deploy in Q3. Finally, in Metro, an update on the opportunity stemming from the deregulation of fiber access in the U.K. that we highlighted a couple of quarters ago. SSE Enterprise Telecoms has become a major -- has begun a major nationwide project, targeted at the U.K. business connectivity market, deploying a packet optical network backbone that will unbundle 177 incumbent BT exchanges to deliver high capacity services on its own fiber.

Towards this initiative, we have won a major new build with SSE that will begin deployment in the third quarter of 2018. Having displaced the traditional incumbent, this new win is an important proof point of the low latency and scalability of XTM2 for metro edge applications. More broadly in metro edge, we continue to be well positioned to address significant fiber deep opportunities with some of the largest cable operators in the world.

Fiber deep represents a multibillion dollar many-year architectural change. While it isn't clear when the deployments will begin in earnest, we believe we are positioned with a unique approach and offering. With the addition of the Coriant capabilities around 5G in the Metro, we believe we will be well positioned to attack both demand drivers of the fiber deep initiatives.

In addition to these recent wins in footprint deployments, we have a solid pipeline of future opportunities that position us to drive growth and take share. In Q2, we had 38 combined ICE4 and XTM2 trials and have booked 19 Open ICE trials thus far in 2018. Exciting to me is that 9 of these open trials are with prospective new customers, supporting our belief that open breaks down the barrier of incumbency and creates Infinera transponder opportunities on previously deployed competitor line systems.

My expectation is that we will convert several of these current ICE4, XTM2 and Open ICE trials to revenue in upcoming quarters. Also regarding future opportunities, I'm pleased that we are seeing a significant expansion in demand from Instant Bandwidth as evidenced by more than 50% of our ICE4 units projected to ship in the second half being Instant Bandwidth enabled, 20% over the past year. Instant Bandwidth is unique to Infinera and costumers clearly love it. We view this as much more significant than the logical pairing of supply and demand. It is the beginning of a real transformation to software-defined reconfigurability. As a reminder, future revenue from Instant Bandwidth license capacity comes at software like margins. Given the increase of ICE4 product capacity from 500 gig to up to 2.4 terabits and the growing percentage of Instant Bandwidth enabled products, we're considerably increasing the pool of high-margin license revenue available across our install base, which should benefit our bottom line in future periods.

All in all, our fully refreshed portrait portfolio is driving important new customer wins and significant footprint expansion that will drive revenue for the next several years. Further, footprint wins today lock in higher margins a few quarters out, as customers add capacity into the Infinera network. For these recent wins, we expect to see higher margin contributions over the course of 2019 and 2020.

Now turning to our recent announcement of the Coriant acquisition. Customers, suppliers and employees have been overwhelmingly supportive. They see the strategic logic and the unique benefits Infinera can derive from greater scale and significant customer base expansion with Tier 1s and ICPs. I believe that Infinera will realize unique value from acquiring Coriant in a number of ways. First, we're the only company in the industry that can fully leverage vertical integration to structurally raise Coriant's margins. We did extensive diligence in this area and are confident of both our technical ability to execute and the step function margin impact that will occur when complete. In addition, not only do Coriant's products gross margins benefit from vertical integration, but increased volume running through our fab lowers the cost structure of the entire company.

Next, the Coriant product portfolio is very complementary to ours, adding additional capabilities around mobile, automation and Layer 3, that should open significant opportunities for us moving forward. Finally, Infinera is the only large scale optical system company with such minimal overlap of major customers.

With this acquisition, we significantly expand our Tier 1 and ICP customer set as well as enhance the overall global presence of our business, while significantly improving our revenue diversity. While our logic for the deal seems clear to most, I'd like to spend some time on our plans for integration. We intend to act immediately to integrate post-close, as successful execution of integration activities over the remainder of 2018 will be crucial towards achieving growth and synergy targets in 2019 and beyond.

First, we are reaffirming our synergy targets of $100 million in 2019 and an additional $150 million by 2021.

Keep in mind that the expected $250 million in total synergies, 40% are attributable to vertical integration, specifically, our plans to integrate our optical engine into Coriant's platform starting in 2020. The additional $150 million expected in 2019 and 2020 stems from bottoms up OpEx savings and supply chain related COG synergies. This $150 million represents less than 10% of the combined company spend.

The overall synergy plan has 3 main vectors; optimizing resources and processes across SG&A, executing on the scale advantage of supply chain savings in both service and manufacturing and the cost avoidance of forward R&D development while leveraging our vertical integration across Coriant platforms. Second, we have a robust integration plan that will be fully staffed and professionally supported with proven, experienced integration resources. We have established a plan with 14 specific work streams to accomplish the full integration of the companies. We are staffing the effort with a cadre of full-time 100% dedicated, proven functional integrated team members from Infinera, Coriant and the industry.

And with key capabilities of Oaktree, we will lever resources from proven professional firms for each phase in the stream of the integration. Third, on the customer front, upon closing, we will develop win plans for certain large in progress opportunities where the customer will benefit from a combined suite of capabilities. As we discussed earlier, we've had a strong response from our customer since the announcement of this deal and have not baked any revenue synergies into our deal analysis.

Lastly, given we are limited in what we can do and share before the deal closes, we intend to provide a deeper dive into our integration and product portfolio plan at our Analyst Day, which will be scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.

In closing, having spent the past 2 weeks talking to customers, suppliers, employees and investors about acquiring Coriant, I feel even more optimistic that this is an incredible opportunity for Infinera and our shareholders. Doubling our revenue gives us the scale to benefit more substantially from vertical integration, enhancing our ability to consistently deliver differentiated margins. We are further benefited by our increasing ability to deliver a more comprehensive suite of solutions to both our existing customers and expanded base of Tier 1s and ICPs. We're entering into this acquisition from a strong position. Our fully refreshed product portfolio is driving revenue growth and earning Infinera new customers, with expected footprint expansion in the second half of 2018. I really like our position and couldn't be more excited for what the future holds.

I'd like to thank our customers, partners and shareholders for their ongoing commitment to Infinera and an extra thanks to our employees for their hard work. I will now turn the call over to Brad to discuss the financials.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [4]

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Thanks, Tom, and good afternoon, everyone. Today I will discuss Q2 highlights, share some color on our future outlook and provide additional commentary on the Coriant acquisition. The detailed recap of our Q2 results is available in the CFO commentary on our Investor Relations website.

Please note that unless specifically stated, all numbers and guidance provided today are on an Infinera stand-alone basis. In Q2, revenue was $208.2 million, up 3% sequentially and 18% year-over-year. Growth in the quarter was driven by strong international results, highlighted by revenue in APAC growing more than 100% sequentially, due to both a spending increase from a large Tier 1 and ICP growth in the region. Looking at customer verticals, our cable business remained robust and we saw encouraging growth in Tier 1 spending across all of our regions stemming from the adoption of ICE4 products. In Q2, existing customers invested substantially in the AOFx 1200, our upgraded DTN-X line cards, allowing them to leverage existing infrastructure to add capacity, cost-effectively for them, and at attractive margins for us.

With accelerating new product momentum, we expect to see continued growth in the second half of 2018. Consistent with our outlook from last quarter, we continue to expect revenue in the second half of 2018 will be 2% to 4% higher than the first half. This implies a revenue range in the second half of approximately $420 million to $430 million, which, at the midpoint, represents [13%] year-over-year growth for the full year.

For the second half, we anticipate growth will be driven by continued adoption of new products with existing customers and large initial deployments with new customers.

As Tom noted, we have substantial opportunities for new deployments of ICE4 and XTM2 solutions across multiple verticals and regions in the second half. As a result, we currently expect Q3 revenue of $210 million plus or minus $10 million. At the midpoint of this range, this represents 9% year-over-year growth. We are guiding to a wider revenue range than typical in Q3 due to the timing of some of these deployments being on the cusp, either at the end of Q3 or beginning of Q4, making it difficult to predict in which quarter revenue will be recognized. I'm very pleased that we expect growth from the broader business in the second half of the year to offset an expected seasonal deceleration in cable, which comes off an exceptional first half where it accounted for over 30% of Infinera's revenue.

In summary on revenue, we are pleased with our performance in the first half and are very excited about the multiyear opportunities we have won that we'll begin to deploy in the second half. For the rest of the year, we remain focused on winning additional new customers and with the addition of Coriant's customer base and capabilities, accelerating our growth momentum into 2019.

Now turning to margins. Non-GAAP gross margin in Q2 was 43.9% at the high-end of our guidance range of 40% to 44%. This strong result was attributable to several factors including new products continuing to increase as a percentage of the revenue mix, strong instant bandwidth license sales and the deployment of certain footprint deals shifting from Q2 to Q3. This result demonstrates the strong potential of our business model, which enables better than industry gross margins.

Specifically, as our revenue mix continues to shift to new products, we enjoy the benefits of the significantly lower cost structure enabled by our vertically integrated business model. Also, there's a favorable margin impact with our instant bandwidth model, when consumers grow their networks with capacity licenses as we saw in the quarter.

We see increasing benefit from Instant Bandwidth with ICE4, as on a per unit basis, we're able to deliver a 2.4x increase in capacity at nominally the same cost. With the higher capacity that ICE4 delivers, the amount of pre-deployed licensable capacity extends considerably at software like margins for Infinera in the future. Being able to deliver nearly 44% non-GAAP gross margin in Q2, while deploying a large amount of Instant Bandwidth ready equipment, is truly a strong result.

Looking ahead, we will continue to be aggressive toward winning new customers, utilizing our new technology, balancing top line growth and profitability. Coming off an exceptional gross margin result in the first half of 2018, combined with our outlook for the second half, we expect non-GAAP gross margin will be in the range of 41% to 43% for the full year, in line with the plans laid out earlier in the year, amongst the best in the industry and with margin expansion exiting the year.

In Q3, due to the high number of new footprint wins we anticipate deploying, we currently project non-GAAP gross margin will be 36% to 40%. This gross margin is indicative of several new network wins that carry relatively low initial margins, but also high margin bandwidth sales in future quarters.

To put this into perspective, in 2018, we have prioritized winning new footprint and overall share, with the willingness to be aggressive to secure certain deals. While footprint deployments tend to result in lower margins in the near term, the new business we have secured will drive multiyear revenue that is increasingly profitable given the combination of high-margin fill capacity, the lower cost structure enabled by a vertical integration and the software-like margins of future Instant Bandwidth licenses. Given the significant opportunities for growth going forward within these networks, we are confident that these deals will drive improvements in our overall profitability, driving us towards our longer-term financial goals.

Turning to OpEx. Non-GAAP operating expenses were $92.8 million in Q2, down from $95.4 million in Q1 and slightly lower than the midpoint of our $91 million to $95 million guidance. In the quarter, we continue to balance investments in future technologies and lab trials to support customer adoption of our new products, with the cost reductions we committed to as part of our late 2017 restructuring. For the remainder of the year, we plan to exceed the commitments we made as part of our restructuring plan and exit 2018 with overall quarterly operating expenses well below $90 million.

In Q3, now that we have completed our portfolio refresh, we project OpEx will decline sequentially to be in the range of $84 million to $88 million.

My expectation remains that R&D will be the main driver of this decline, G&A cost will decrease slightly and sales and marketing expenses will be dependent on our revenue performance.

Looking ahead, we will continue to balance driving operating efficiencies with investments that support revenue growth and drive customer adoption of our new products.

Entering next year with the combined revenue of approximately $1.6 billion, I'm excited that we will have the scale to drive significant operating leverage, while also investing sufficiently to deliver differentiated technologies at the pace the market demands them.

We're demonstrating strong financial leverage in our operating model as evidenced by the following non-GAAP metrics. In Q2, we grew revenue 18%, while increasing gross profit of approximately 27% and reducing operating expenses by 1% leading to a $20 million increase in operating profit year-over-year. And for the full year, we expect to grow approximately 13%, while increasing gross profit by approximately 20% and decreasing OpEx, leading to an improvement in our operating profit of over $60 million year-over-year.

In Q2, on a non-GAAP basis, we had an operating loss of 0.7% and a net loss of $0.01 per share, with both metrics above our guidance range, largely due to strong gross margin. On a GAAP basis, we incurred a net loss of $0.14 per share, with stock-based compensation expense being the largest driver of the difference between our GAAP and non-GAAP results.

For the second half, we anticipate revenue growth and prudent expense management will enable us to return to non-GAAP profitability in the fourth quarter of 2018, consistent with the outlook provided on our previous earnings call. In Q3, due to the lower initial gross margins of our new footprint wins, we're projecting non-GAAP operating loss of approximately 3%. Below the line, given that we paid off our convertible debt, we expect interest expense to be negligible for the time being. To finance the pending Coriant acquisition, we're closing in on securing new debt. Future interest expense will depend on this debt financing.

Also, as a reminder, on a stand-alone basis, our significant NOL balance in the U.S. will drive our tax expense for the foreseeable future on a stand-alone basis to be approximately $1 million per quarter. After the deal closes, we intend to share our tax outlook for the combined company.

In Q3, we currently project a non-GAAP net loss of $0.05 per share, plus or minus a couple of pennies, with the GAAP results $0.11 lower, mainly driven by stock-based compensation and based on today's share count. Given our expectation of higher revenue and improved gross margin in the fourth quarter, we expect to record positive non-GAAP net income in Q4 '18.

On the balance sheet, as the business continued to build momentum in Q2, I was pleased that we generated $7 million in cash from operations. Excluding the cash outflow related to the payoff of our $150 million convertible debt facility, overall cash and investments declined in the second quarter by $9 million as positive cash from operations was offset by currency impacts and CapEx related to investments related to support next-generation technologies.

In conclusion, our top line growth and bottom line improvements demonstrate the market's receptiveness to our refreshed portfolio and the earnings potential of our vertically integrated business model. We have prioritized customer and footprint expansion in 2018 and expect to reap the revenue and high-margin benefits of this strategy in 2019 and beyond. We are in a good spot, armed with a strong pipeline of Infinera opportunities over the next several quarters and with Coriant's complementary customers and capabilities, we are well positioned to grow as a combined company.

As a combined company, we also stand to benefit substantially on the bottom line, profiting early on from scale and its associated operating leverage and a few years out from leveraging our vertical integration across Coriant's platforms. Like Tom, I like where we stand, we're poised to deliver strong financial results in the second half of 2018 in a differentiated, highly profitable financial model over time.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to the operator to begin the Q&A portion of the call.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question will come from Vijay Bhagavath of Deutsche Bank.

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Vijay Krishna Bhagavath, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [2]

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Question for you, Tom, in terms of both Cloud and Metro, where are we today on this speed transition optical capacity update cycle? Roughly, what visibility do you have one-plus quarters hopefully? And then as we head into next year, how do the speeds kind of transition, like are we kind of in 400 gig optical LAN moving to terabit scale? So help us understand the speed transition and also visibility in your business Cloud and Metro?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [3]

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Okay, Vijay, so I'm going to break this up into a couple of parts, one is around visibility and opportunities and then I'm going to ask Dave to talk about speed transitions in the various markets. And so first of all, I think that in Cloud, it's being very well-received, ICE4. Since we introduced it last year, we won a lot of customers and a lot of customers have upgraded. I'm really excited that we've finally broken in to the financial markets with our CX. We've been working hard to get into that area for a while. I think the hardest part of the financials is that they tend to be risk-averse around trying somebody who doesn't have a marquis, we'll now have a marquis. So I think that the ease of use, the fact that we provide so much Instant Bandwidth capacity, the quality of the program, I think we have a really great opportunity. Looking forward to the rest of year in Cloud, I see probably kind of steady business. It's a little bit of a lumpy business, not only for us but the entire industry. But clearly, there is continued expansion of Cloud, and not just ICP, but data center to data center. And I feel like the ICE4 has been well received, we have good opportunity. In Metro, I am actually more and more optimistic around our position in Metro. First, as we talk about SSE, that's a really, really substantive win. We talk about breaking up the BT lock on internet access in the U.K. and SSE going after that with us, displacing an incumbent. Clearly, the low power, the ease of use, the density of the program, really, against everybody. And we opened that door and I think it's going to be a very long program for us that'll be very, very good over time. And once again, it's a new benchmark in the industry where we can go leverage that. So I'm excited about Metro. One of the things that I am also excited about Metro is the Coriant acquisition will give us a very good Metro core. And it's very complementary to what we get with the XTM. The XTM is more of an access edge play. When you look in about power, cost, density, it's a clear leader. When you have to go into integrated switching, when you going into redundant control, the [Enterra] will be a great complement for that. So I think it opens up a big opportunity as the Metro core continues to expand. And then clearly, in the Metro, 5G and fiber deep are going to be the big plays over the next several years. I think we were well positioned before as we add the Coriant portfolio, particularly of their new vibe capabilities and the rest of their portfolio around automation and XTM, I think, we'll have a incredibly compelling solution. When that really starts, I'm not sure. But it's going to start sooner rather than later and it's going to be, I think, quite large and I do think we are well positioned both from a technology perspective but also now from a customer perspective. Dave, if you could answer Vijay's question on speed transitions, I'd appreciate it.

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David F. Welch, Infinera Corporation - Co-Founder, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer and Director [4]

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The speed transitions that are going on in the network. Right now, you have to break down into edge, access in metro core and then in the long-haul. At the edge, the transition that is going to happen over the course of next few years is going to be the transition from 10 gigabit to 100 gigabit. And that is probably be the -- certainly the largest volume and the impact as the edge and access speeds drive up. As far as going into core, you're currently and the majority of the bandwidth is deployed right now, is being deployed at 200 gigabits a wave. That certainly will go up but the spectral efficiency isn't going to make any transition. It's all about $1 per gigabit. So when it goes up to 400 gigabits, or whether it goes up to terabits class, that will be driven not by service speeds, but more by dollar per gigabit capability. The DCI, where you have a high concentration, the transition of 400 gigs ER type of component sets of 400 gig coherent. I think that will be -- that market is going to be split between the 400 gig and the terabit. That will be driven by what the advantages are per dollar for gigabit basis between the two. And that's probably more set for a 2020 type of transition time.

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Operator [5]

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Our next question comes from Alex Henderson of Needham & Company.

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Alexander Henderson, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [6]

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Before I ask the question, could you clarify your comment on trials that, I think you said 38 trials, then you also went on to say there was 19 Open ICE trials. Is that 38 plus 19 or is that 19 in the 38, if you can just clarify that?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [7]

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That 19's in the 38, Alex. I'm pushing both trials of new products. They're new customers, they're old customers with new technology and there's Open, which is typically or often, as we said, 9 of them had not historically been Infinera customers. So I'm, quite frankly, excited about all the trials and I think it speaks well to our opportunities over the next several quarters, Open to me is strategically important.

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Alexander Henderson, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [8]

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The primary question I wanted to ask is around the gross margins. I think you said the second half product gross margins would be in the 36% to 40% range. And I think that probably ties to the very high percentage of ICE4 products going out with Instant Bandwidth at 50%. First off, am I correct that, that's -- you're putting out a lot more capacity than you're charging for, does give you an opportunity in the future, but is that the primary driver of that margin pressure? Or alternatively, are you being more aggressive on system and integrated all-in costs to gain footprint? Can you distinguish between those two factors?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [9]

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Sure, Alex, just to clarify one thing. The 36% to 40% is just Q3. The metrics for the second half are higher than that. And it's a combo of what you described. It is truly new networks going out that are very lightly loaded, both from a traditional sense and also from an Instant Bandwidth sense. So there will be a lot of additional high-margin bandwidth to be added to those as we go forward. A lot of those are, obviously, new customers and new opportunities where there's also the incremental new footprint infrastructure that goes in day 1. So we have a large amount, as Tom mentioned in his script, new customers and new deployments that are coming. And the combo of them being lightly loaded and that infrastructure is putting pressure on the Q3 margins.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [10]

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Yes, Alex, let me ask -- add one thing. If you think about the PIC going from 500 gig to 1.2 terabits, right, that leaves a lot more ability for customers to add incremental bandwidth over time. Our installed base of fillable I bandwidth grows dramatically. As we win these new customers, and we're meaning more than we have, now that we have our full ICE4 portfolio out, large percentage of them are now buying with I-Bandwidth. I think, in our script, we said, half -- the second half of the year, as I recall, which is up substantially from what we have historically done. I think that's great. We're using I-Bandwidth to lower the customers' first in cost. That is a critical buying decision as first in cost. And then for no incremental cost, we basically got them locked in for years of capacity expansion. So I-Bandwidth as a percentage going up is important. The fact that the PIC capacity is more than double isn't important. And the fact that we're winning new footprint, the one in Asia that we won, is a substantive rollout in Q3. SSE starts to roll out in Q3. We've just been given a letter of intent for their Tier 1, new customer for us. Down in LATAM, that'll open up in the second half, maybe not Q3, we'll see if we can deploy by then, but in the second half. It'll also be I-Bandwidth. And interestingly enough, it's a customer that started, it's in the lab because we have Open ICE, and we've been certified now across all their vendors' amplifier systems. So we're winning footprint. It comes with a cost but mostly, the dynamics are very positive in regard to why Q3 margin is under a little bit of pressure.

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Alexander Henderson, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [11]

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Just to be clear and paraphrase what I think I'm hearing you say, this is mostly Instant Bandwidth and lightly loaded, not a function of step up pricing for the aggregate system that would cause industry-wide price pressure?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [12]

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It's not a step up in pricing pressure. We are seeing probably a disproportionate of new footprint wins and deployments in Q3.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [13]

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Yes, Alex, I think you characterized it exactly right, which is, it's not a new aggressive, it's us putting out predeployed capacity into new networks that's putting a little bit of pressure.

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Operator [14]

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Our next question comes from Samik Chatterjee of JP Morgan.

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Samik Chatterjee, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [15]

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I just want to follow-up on the Instant Bandwidth question, the last question, and sort of get a feel of when you mentioned you're deploying sort of Instant Bandwidth with your customers increasingly at a probably an increase in the cash rate and you're likely loading it so the margins are lower to start off with, but what is the typical customer behavior you've seen in terms of them opting for a upgrade in terms of the bandwidth, which comes in at a higher margin at a later stage? What do you see in terms of timeline in typical customer behavior? When do you expect that high-margin bandwidth to be purchased later?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [16]

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Yes, so it's different from customer to customer. But if you look at the types of customers we're talking about, these are large Tier 1 customers that increase their capacity very rapidly. So we expect it to start to come within a couple of quarters over those initial deployments.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [17]

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Yes, I think that the first couple of quarters is really spent deploying things and turning things up. And as they start deploying services, the beautiful part was for them, a lot of these carriers to go into a new region, have to justify going into that region with a very fast return of capital. When the Instant Bandwidth infrastructure is already deployed, they can very easily put out very small amounts of incremental CapEx to open up new markets. So we have found that for the larger carriers, the adoption is actually fairly fast. The other thing that is important to understand as an investor, when we sell a fully loaded unit versus an Instant Bandwidth loaded unit over time, our margin on the Instant Bandwidth loaded product is actually better. That's part of how we pay for it. We're financing it. And I think that it works great for our customer. It also works great for our shareholders. And the great part to me is, once you have that infrastructure in place, that next 100 gig is coming to us, because it's the cheapest, easiest, fastest way for our customer to deploy that next 100 gig.

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David F. Welch, Infinera Corporation - Co-Founder, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer and Director [18]

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Yes, and I'm going to add on a comment here. I want to make sure that the value of Instant Bandwidth, it is more valuable to the customer because of the reconfigurability that the Instant Bandwidth enables them in their marketplace, right? And then I've seen this and many of our customers, the -- Tom has spent mostly in the financial side, talking about the ability to turn on and align with their revenue stream. There's an added value on there that we get highly significant upside from is that a licensed network can be reconfigured instantaneously for that as their patterns demand or if a catastrophic event has happened that allows them to move those licenses around to where the system is operational and that adds a significant amount of value to them. That's the primary reason why the margin for this capability is higher.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [19]

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It's really -- and Dave talks about this a lot around -- the industry's talking about network automation. This is a real use of network automation. Today, I have capacity from point A to point B that I bought. Tomorrow, I need it from C to D. With our Instant Bandwidth, you actually just move the license from C to D. You don't have to do anything else. We're really working hard to create network as utility. And I think that we're the only people that have the toolbox to bring that to life.

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David F. Welch, Infinera Corporation - Co-Founder, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer and Director [20]

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Yes, this is as close in the transport world as you can get to a software-as-a-service. It's a bandwidth-as-a-service capability, bandwidth-on-demand and that has significant value to it.

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Samik Chatterjee, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [21]

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Got it. I have a quick follow-up on -- sorry, I had a quick follow-up on the operating expense guidance. Going from Q3 where you guided $26 millions into Q4, is the $86 million the cost structure for the standalone business that you're expecting to move into the integration with? Or are you looking to drive expenses down further in Q4 before you move into integration?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [22]

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Yes, so there's not another step down from there. In fact, it may be a [titch] higher than the $86 million just with some year-end sales comp with the strong Q4 that we're expecting.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [23]

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It's important to realize that we committed, I think, $40 million of cost to come out of the business this year and we're on track to achieve that.

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Operator [24]

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Our next question comes from Jeff Kvaal of Nomura Securities.

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Jeffrey Thomas Kvaal, Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - MD [25]

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Let me start actually with a follow-up, which is following up from last quarter, you talked about some intensifying pricing pressure, doesn't seem like things are as intense this quarter. Does that mean things have reverted to where they were a quarter ago or just haven't gotten any worse?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [26]

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You should assume that I communicated very poorly last quarter. This industry always has price competition. We -- I wasn't implying that it's getting worse than that. My indication was that on new footprint, that it's becoming even more intense on new footprint. And I -- that's no change on that. To me, it was trying to be fully disclosing on what we see. My take is on new footprint. We come armed with an arsenal of tools that actually allow us to price aggressively with things like Instant Bandwidth and make a fair return over time, but the aggressiveness upfront is -- it's significant. That's one of the reasons you're seeing, as we talk about, some of the compression in Q3, because a lot of that is new footprint. The best indicator in my mind of our future opportunity is how much footprint we're deploying both with current and new customers. So it's not something that we lose a lot of sleep about. We're not walking away from deals. We're going to go aggressively pursue deals where we can make a fair return over time. And we have a toolbox that will allow us to do that.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [27]

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And Jeff, just to clarify, I think the, and Thomas clarified this before is, if you had any one of those deals, it's very normal. The fact that you have multiple of them that we're winning at the same time, that's what puts the extra pressure on the margin side.

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Jeffrey Thomas Kvaal, Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - MD [28]

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What makes me scratch my head a little bit, gentlemen, is that we're now deep into the ICE4 cycle and yet the gross margin -- let's average them across a couple of quarters, not get caught up on the third quarter. But let's just say that they're in the low 40s even though we're deep into the ICE4 cycle and I would have thought, if you had asked me a year ago, that the margins would have made significant progress from the low 40s. So what's happening here? Is the Instant Bandwidth is becoming a more popular business model than you expected? Or how should we think about that?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [29]

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Yes, so Jeff, the biggest thing that you got to realize is we've just launched the AOFx 1200 and really just launched the XT-3600. So we've talked about, historically, that about 2/3 of our customer base use primarily those products. So I would say we're deep into ICE4 that CX and the baseline XT-3300 have been out for a good period of time, but the AOFx 1200 and XT 3600 are still a very small portion of the overall piece. So you will see that continue to grow. We talked about it being north of 30% of product revenue. You will continue to see that grow over the course of the year and into future years. That's when you really start to see the power of the cost structure as we go forward.

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Operator [30]

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Our next question comes from George Notter of Jefferies.

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George Charles Notter, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [31]

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I guess, I wanted to jump in here and just make sure I understand kind of what you guys are looking for in terms of your largest customer. Obviously, it's CenturyLink Level 3, historically, and one of the narratives, I think, around the business was that, that customer would improve over time as you kind of get past the merger integration there. I guess, I'm curious if you seeing improvement in run rates with them? And then also, I know there's an RFP process, what are you expecting in terms of RFP process as you kind of think about second half guidance? And just in general, how much does that improve your opportunity going forward?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [32]

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Yes, certainly, George. I would say that CenturyLink revenue we're seeing now, is up slightly from what it bottomed out as. We are still not forecasting any fundamental change in that. So there's a significant gap from what it was running at to what it is running at. The good news is, every quarter we become -- have become more successful at replacing that. Clearly, if that goes back to anywhere close to where it was before, that's a significant upside. We just aren't baking that into our near term planning because we don't know when that's going to occur. My suspicion is, it will occur. In regard to the RFP, we continue to monitor and track that. We're hopeful that a decision will be made in Q3. I think that we are well positioned, but I certainly am not going to count my chickens before they hatch. We've had a long relationship, a very good relationship with both companies and were the incumbent for long-haul at both companies, Coriant has a substantive Metro base, certainly at part of the old company. And so I think we're well positioned. We're going to go -- we'll work very hard to earn this opportunity. And I think that there will likely be a decision, likely in Q3.

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Operator [33]

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Our next question will come from Rod Hall of Goldman Sachs.

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Roderick B. Hall, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD [34]

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I guess, the first question I want to ask you is, you got new footprint wins in Q3 and yet the revenues are pretty flat quarter-on-quarter. So just wondering, is that because other revenues deteriorated? Or is there something that I'm making up in terms of how the revenue got afloat? Seems like you ought to have higher revenues to go along with the weaker margins, but I'm not sure about that, so I wanted to ask. And I've got a follow-up.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [35]

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Yes, so Rod, the piece in the second half that we've been talking about for a while was that cable in the first half was exceptionally strong, as is traditionally in that space, and we had a -- our largest customer roll out very aggressive plans in the first half. So we had anticipated that, that was not going to continue into the second half. So what you see is these new opportunities, both of new customers and ramping with AOFx 1200 and XT-3600 helping to backfill that, which is why you don't see the top line growing more significantly.

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Roderick B. Hall, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD [36]

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Okay. And then, I guess I'm going to roll this into one follow up. But the -- so the -- my understanding, we get that the Instant Bandwidth depresses margins. Is there any way you can give us, Brad, some kind of indication of how much revenue that was, so that we can get a feeling for the math behind it? And then I also just wondered, is this the way -- I mean, it's a much bumpier margin trajectory exiting the year than we would have expected. We're calculating like 42.5% gross margin in Q4. I wonder, is that what you guys expected originally? Or is it a little bit more lumpy on the gross margin than you thought it would be?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [37]

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Yes. So Rod, it's hard to get into the real detail behind every deal on the call itself, but we can work towards that off-line. But in terms of your question about the lumpiness, I would say, we had good anticipations of winning additional customers. We've been very focused on it. But as the years rolled out, quite frankly, we've been more successful than we anticipated and that has put a little bit more variability into the margins. The thing I will tell you, though, and ask you to focus on is, the win rate is significantly higher than we expected, and the long term revenue opportunity is also bigger than we expected.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [38]

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Just one comment on these rollouts of new footprint. Once the network's installed, it's much easier to get into a cadence of revenue and planning with the customer. New footprint, they're at the power availability, fiber availability, they have all kinds of facility they have to work with. And it's not unusual for those to move out. It's very unusual for them to move in. One of the reasons our Q2 margin was at the very high end of our guidance range, is some of the footprint we had actually anticipated in Q2 rolled to Q3. So Q2 was a little higher, Q3 is a little lower than we would have thought. Net-net, it's about the same over a period of time. I think it's important not to focus on any type of quarterly variation because footprint wins really do move the needle of margin. And I think integrated over a period of time, I'm actually pretty comfortable with our margin expansion.

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Operator [39]

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Our next question comes from Jim Suva of Citigroup.

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Jim Suva, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director [40]

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In your prepared comments, you made a reference to some recent new wins. I think you said there were some telecom companies that had (inaudible).

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [41]

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Jim, you're coming through, unfortunately, pretty garbled. And I can't understand the question. I think so. Yes.

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Jim Suva, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director [42]

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On your prepared remarks you mentioned that you had some recent wins. And I think telecom that had adverse impact to gross margins. Can you expect follow on of higher gross margin products to come? Is there anything unique about that? Or what's the timeline tempo for when that pull through will happen or will there be additional layers of some more wins that we should think about. I just want to see, it seems quite like a positive more than a negative.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [43]

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I think it is a positive, Jim. I think that each one will have a kind of a different cadence. And you're right, the initial footprint has lower margin than the average deal will achieve. We typically achieve kind of average deal in the 2- to 3-year kind of time frame. And the one that I talked about in Asia, it's going out with Instant Bandwidth. So the first thing they will do is deploy. They will turn up the circuits with, I think, a couple of hundred gigs. And then that leaves them still several hundred gigs that they can get with Instant Bandwidth. What I typically have found is that the ramp of the Instant Bandwidth after a large deployment, typically starts 3 to 5 quarters later. And then you start seeing kind of a steady growth of increased capacity. Every customer is different, but that's kind of the average.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [44]

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Yes, and Jim, I would reinforce Tom's comment. This is absolutely a positive. The rate that we're winning, the types of customers we're winning, the amount of unlicensed bandwidth that we're deploying is a great situation for us and for our shareholders.

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Operator [45]

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Our next question comes from Simon Leopold of Raymond James.

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Simon Matthew Leopold, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [46]

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Just wanted to first get a housekeeping one out of the way, I don't think you made comments on 10% customers. Would it be possible to get a little bit more color on the top customer contributions?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [47]

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Sure. Two greater than 10%, one being the large cable customer, the other being the recently combined Tier 1 in the U.S.

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Simon Matthew Leopold, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [48]

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Great. And combined, how big were they?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [49]

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Combined?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [50]

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35%.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [51]

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Yes.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [52]

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You can see the CFO commentary for a little more on that.

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Simon Matthew Leopold, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [53]

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Okay, appreciate that. So Tom, earlier in answering another question, I think you made a good point about the quarterly movement of gross margin and I appreciate we shouldn't focus on one quarter, because you clearly had some new project activity slide into 3Q, so better 2Q. So what I think we're all trying to get at is, what should we think of as a normalized gross margin? And ideally, I'd love to get your views on what it should look like in 2019, that would be great, but some way to think about what is the normalized level?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [54]

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I think I'm going to answer and I'm going to ask Brad to point specifically. '19 becomes tricky, because we'll be a consolidated company with Coriant. Their margin at a product level until we can fix some cost structure items, will certainly be dilutive to our gross margin profile. And we anticipate that we'll take a couple of years to get back into the 40s. For Infinera standalone, I think we had anticipated that our gross margin will be in the mid-40s by early next year. And I would say that based upon the wins we're having, the cost structure of ICE4 actually hitting or exceeding, actually, our internal targets, I would say that we're on track for accomplishing that. But from a consolidated point of view, we will have probably more data for you at our Investor Day in Q4 to give you the specifics of how that will all blend out. As a combined company, we're still remaining committed to our long-term gross margin model of 50 points, but that includes including our ICE infrastructure into the major Coriant platforms.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [55]

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Yes, so Simon, when you say normalized, it's hard to get to a normal. But I would say, once we get past the initial phase of winning these new customers, we'll continue to win new customers, but you will have follow on growth in terms of additional capacity that puts you somewhere in the low to mid-40s next year as a standalone. Tom is right that it will change after the deal, but that at least gives you a feel for that on a standalone basis.

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Operator [56]

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Our next question comes from Tim Savageaux of Northland Capital Markets.

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Timothy Paul Savageaux, Northland Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [57]

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Apologies if I'm repeating anything here. But I wanted to ask about, I guess, carrier cloud -- in general, customer reaction to the Infinera/Coriant merger since the announcement of the deal. If you have anything anecdotally to share? And maybe you mentioned something earlier on the call that I missed. I was intrigued by your comments around footprints at Level 3 CenturyLink coming out of the Coriant deal and that, obviously, could be useful. I wonder if you have anything else to share along those lines of what you've been hearing from customers since the announcement?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [58]

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The overall customer response has been very, very positive. And it's been certainly positive by the long-term Tier 1s that Coriant has been servicing. It's also, I would say, positive from the ICPs that we've talked to -- positive or neutral, I mean, it's one or the other. Some people haven't been looking at them and they don't really care. Some people are looking at them and actually buying from them, ones that we didn't have. And they're actually -- at first, they were pensive about what's your plan and we told them that we're going to continue with the product offering and then they were delighted. They really enjoyed the Groove platform. It's got a very nice architecture with the sleds that they innovated around. And they have got some good traction with some ICPs that we did not have. I think it opened up, as we talked about in my commentary, Tier 1 and ICP customers. Both of them, I think, are important in this acquisition and they introduce us to customers in both of those markets that are substantive and meaningful for our long-term success. So we've had 0 negative commentary. A couple of people on the ICPs were neutral, because they don't use them and don't care. And some are actually very happy, because we've told them that we will continue with that Groove platform. And they are going to continue, to the best I know, at least they articulated, they will continue with their deployment activities, which are actually just starting, so I'm actually optimistic.

The good news is, everybody wants us to come in once the deal closes and give them an update on the road map, right? The first think you tell them is, "We're not killing it." "Great, tell me what you are doing." And we have to say, "Well, until the deal is closed, we are restricted on what we can offer and we have a restriction on actually even dealing with Coriant and what plans are." But I can tell you, the last thing we're going to go do is disrupt revenue streams from customers that we want to go and have part of our portfolio.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [59]

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Yes, I would add a little bit color from a financial perspective. Obviously, I've gotten several requests to meet on the financial side, because they see it as a very big positive that them being under our ownership is a much more stable situation for them that they don't have to worry about going forward. So I think customers are also looking at as a big stability point under our roof.

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Operator [60]

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Our next question comes from Meta Marshall of Morgan Stanley.

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Meta A. Marshall, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP [61]

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I just wanted to turn quickly to the R&D line item and that you had mentioned that it would take a step down in Q3 with the completion of the portfolio. And I just wanted to dig in there because I know, kind of a couple of years ago, the idea was to kind of step up R&D to have a faster cadence. And so I kind of would have thought that resources will just be moving to the next generation. And so is there just a higher portion of fixed sampling costs that we don't see? Is there anticipated moves ahead of Coriant? Or is there just less overlap there?

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [62]

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Yes, if you go back to our commentary around the restructuring we did, we actually cut deeper than we publicly talked about. And we actually shifted dollars to the PIC and module side of the business to continue to allow us to be on that faster cadence train. The underlying R&D for the remainder of it, there's always when you do an entirely refresh of an entire portfolio, there's a lot of cost around protos, the type of stuff that, once you finish that refresh, you're going to continue to work on new products, but it's not going to be a full refresh of the portfolio. That's what allows it to start to drive down.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [63]

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And if I can add in there, some of that reduction in R&D going forward is just the fact that we don't -- aren't making the same level of prototypes that we had in the past, because of the release product. So these aren't people drops, these are just prototypes that we have to build in our engineering organization.

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Meta A. Marshall, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP [64]

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Got it. And just as we think about, I think, in the past like the industry size kind of a DSP development at around $50 million to $70 million a generation. Like what do you guys size as a approximate for kind of each generation of PIC?

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [65]

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I think the -- first, I'd calibrate the DSP development is less than what you've got there is still significant.

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Brad D. Feller, Infinera Corporation - CFO [66]

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Yes.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [67]

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But I would scale that more in the $40 million-type of range instead of $50 million to $70 million for the DSP. The optics for each generation, yes, I would probably put it in the $20 million type of range. Those generations sometimes span each other or it's not one big bang event always.

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Operator [68]

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This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Mr. Tom Fallon for any closing remarks.

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Thomas J. Fallon, Infinera Corporation - CEO & Director [69]

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I just want to thank you, all, for joining us this afternoon and for your questions. We look forward to updating you on our continued progress and we'll see you at the Analyst Day. Have a great day.

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Operator [70]

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The conference is now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.