2:20 PM Are AlcaLu and Ericsson shoo-ins?

Michelle Donegan

September 7, 2009

2 Min Read
AT&T's LTE Suppliers

2:20 PM -- Now that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has revealed a new supplier selection strategy -- the domain supplier program -- here at Wireless Bits we're wondering whether the operator is any closer to choosing its Long Term Evolution (LTE) vendors for its next-gen mobile network. (See AT&T Unveils Domain Supplier Strategy and MWC 2009: AT&T Plots LTE in 2011.)

AT&T today named Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) as one of the two suppliers for the "wireline access" domain, and as Light Reading reports, it's inconceivable that the other supplier won't be Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). (See BBWF: Ericsson Enters AT&T's GPON Domain.)

AT&T says it has identified seven or eight other "domains," for which it will select two suppliers. So, if there is a Wireline Access domain, presumably there will also be a Wireless Access domain. And the two suppliers in the Wireline and Wireless Access domains could be the same: AlcaLu and Ericsson.

Why? Not because we have a penchant for cut and paste. But because in radio access, AlcaLu and Ericsson are AT&T's incumbent suppliers; they have both already won a major LTE contract with Verizon Wireless to supply radio access equipment (as well as the core network for LTE, Evolved Packet Core); and the likelihood of challengers Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. or Nokia Networks getting some next-gen radio access business with AT&T looks remote. (See LTE: AlcaLu's Flagship and Verizon Makes LTE Connection in Boston & Seattle .)

NSN is reeling and regrouping after Ericsson outbid it for Nortel Networks Ltd. 's wireless assets. And as for Huawei, despite early market momentum in LTE and wins at U.S. operators like Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Cox Communications Inc. , the Chinese vendor has political baggage that could hamper its ambitions for a big infrastructure deal with the likes of AT&T. (See Ericsson Delivers Knockout Blow to NSN, Nortel Wireless Winner: It's Ericsson!, and Clearwire Confirms Huawei Deal.)

It would be surprising if AT&T selected NSN or Huawei for its LTE network. But hey, we like surprises...

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

About the Author(s)

Michelle Donegan

Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry for the last 20 years on both sides of the Pond. Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and, most recently, Light Reading.  

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