Alvarion WiMaxes Lucent

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) looks set to turn to broadband wireless vendor Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR) for the sale of mobile WiMax kit, Unstrung has learned.

In January, Lucent announced a deal to resell Alvarion’s fixed-wireless kit based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s 802.16-2004 standard, previously known as 802.16d (see Lucent to Resell Alvarion and Lucent, Alvarion Partner on WiMax). Official certification and interoperability testing of such kit is expected to begin next month, with commercial products available for launch in the first quarter of next year (see WiMax Waits on Testing).

At the time of the OEM agreement, no plans were mentioned regarding the possible future sale of 802.16e kit, which is focused on the concept of portable and mobile broadband services. The IEEE is expected to ratify the 802.16e standard by the end of this year, with certification testing and product availability slated for the second half of 2006 at the earliest.

But Alvarion says portability has been addressed. “The deal includes mobile,” says Alvarion’s VP of marketing, Carlton O’Neal.

“The agreement is an OEM agreement where Lucent is selling Alvarion’s WiMax product line,” adds Rudy Leser, another VP of marketing at Alvarion. “It’s with the wireless division of Lucent.”

Lucent is keeping its lips tightly sealed on the mobile side of the deal, for now at least. “Our work with Alvarion remains focused on 802.16d,” writes a Lucent spokesman in an email to Unstrung. “We have nothing further to announce or share at this time.”

There's also no word on whether Lucent plans to produce its own 802.16e kit, in addition to reselling Alvarion's equipment. What is certain is that the vendor is bullish on its plans for wireless broadband technology.

In January, Lucent's CEO Pat Russo dangled a teaser in front of the wireless community by declaring that the firm is "working on a data-focused disruptive technology," adding that the launch was "12 months down the line." (See Russo Promises Disruption.)

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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