Video services

Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap

The merger between Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) and Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is close to moving to the next level, say industry sources. U.S. Presidential approval is expected in the next few weeks, and Alcatel is preparing a new product roadmap that shows how the two companies' product portfolios fit together, Light Reading has learned. (See Alcatel/Lucent Wait on W OK.)

The public unveiling of the new product roadmap is expected around November 15, say industry sources, implying that the company expects to see approval prior to that time. (See Alcatel, Lucent Seal Deal.)

Alcatel spokespeople deny any knowledge of "anything related to the portfolio," and say no decisions can be made about any rationalization of a combined Alcatel Lucent product set until the merger process is completed.

While many industry analysts believe it will be early December before the seal of approval is granted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), details in Lucent's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggest that the green light could come from the White House in mid-November. (See Alcatel/Lucent Wait on W OK.)

Alcatel is keeping quiet about ongoing negotiations with Lucent, and no details are currently available about the exact nature of Alcatel's new product roadmap, but it's clear there has been plenty of rigorous discussion between the two companies about product line rationalization once the merger is completed.

At the recent Broadband World Forum event in Paris, one Lucent executive, Broadband Solutions VP Rob Piconi, said the two vendors have been "working on planning since May." He said there "won't be many surprises -- a lot of things will make sense," though he added, with a smile, that "some decisions will be more interesting."

Piconi, though, wasn't aware of any set date for new product roadmap plans to be announced.

Watching wireless
The Alcatel/Lucent product portfolio decisions will have a major impact across the telecom world, with customers seeking assurance that their deployed technologies will be supported and developed, and rivals looking for weaknesses to exploit. (See Can Alcatel & Lucent Avoid an IMS Mess?)

In particular, the likes of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Siemens Communications Group will be keen to see how the pair will deal with its wireless infrastructure portfolio. (See Nokia, Siemens Create Networks Giant.)

Alcatel has its own selection of base stations plus the UMTS access equipment recently acquired from Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Lucent has both GSM and CDMA equipment, giving the two companies a combined base station portfolio that, some industry experts believe, includes nearly 50 separate products, a very large number for any company to manage. (See Alcatel Snags Nortel 3G Unit.)

While Lucent has struggled to make inroads in the UMTS market, it has a major account under its belt at Cingular Wireless , which will be seeking assurances that its own investment and network strategy won't be compromised by any product rationalization decisions. (See Lucent Expands Cingular and Lucent Grabs Cingular Action.)

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digits 12/5/2012 | 3:35:47 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Where can ALcatel and Lucent rationalize their combined product sets the most?

IPTV looks like a tricky area, and one where Alcatel Lucent will need to kepe its options open.

BUt what about access? Will teh STinger survive?

And IMS? That looks like it will be quite an internal battleground...
melao 12/5/2012 | 3:35:45 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Sorry to be cynical, but we are at lightreading so what about optical ??? :)

Both are giants in this space.
digits 12/5/2012 | 3:35:42 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Honestly
I don't have a problem with Microsoft at all. It's just another company providing technology to carriers in my eyes. But other people seem to.
I do have another story in the bag about Microsoft IPTV to publish shortly. You could say it's quite a different tale from Swisscom.

I'm interested, though, in how you define "doing well." MSFT IPTV has many engagements -- exactly the ones that all its rivals wished they had -- but very few are in production, and servicing paying customers. When there are hundereds of thousands of subscribers paying for services provided by Microsoft's IPTV technology, then you could say it's doing well. That time may come very soon.

I am also more than happy to hear about the experiences of other carriers that are deploying IPTV technology and launching services, about what has gone right and wrong. Everyone learns a lot from mistakes/problems, right?

Honestly 12/5/2012 | 3:35:42 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap It just seems that you focus on wrong and problems. Sounds like you look for fault not success scoops.

Not sure how many years you have been in the industry, but so many advanced technologies took time to mature. Microsoft seems to not be pounding its chest too much here and we agree evryone learns from trial and errors.

Technologies that took time to mature and be adopted.

Frame Relay, ATM, DSL, 802.11, CDMA, VOIP, IP services
Honestly 12/5/2012 | 3:35:42 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Ray, how many more times must we be reminded of old problems.? You wrote last week that IPTV is launched and working. So, let it go dude. Provide current stuff

You have a problem with Microsoft?, because it appears they are doing well and you constantly peck at them.
reese_lightening 12/5/2012 | 3:35:27 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Both Alcatel and Lucent have a 40G optical system on which they both spent lots of money developping but would require even more to support and maintain.

Can ALA LU afford to support two 40G systems? Did ALA or LU sell a 40G system yet?
LightWarrior 12/5/2012 | 3:34:42 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap Honestly, dude... wake up. Have you been reading the news lately?

1) Bell Canada delays MS IPTV deployment for at least a year saying the current solution is "not ready or differentiating enough"
2) BSkyB Microsoft DRM craps out and takes down IPTV service
3) Verizon kicks out MS client solution because "it won't work with our set-top boxes"
4) Delays and bugs at both Swisscom and DT (despite the PR push of the launch last week the engineers there HATE MS)
5) Terrible scalability at LightSpeed and DT (something like 300 STB per server--- enough power output for HV/AV to melt the building not to mention cost of hardware)

The only decent IPTV deployments that I have heard of that have scaled to carrier-grade proportions (besides home-grown solutions like FastWeb) are Siemens/Myrio at Belagom/KPN/ADC and Espial at NTT in Japan. No one else has anything over 200K subs for IPTV middleware, not even Microsoft.

So show me a success please.
fernandosanchez 12/5/2012 | 3:34:38 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap LightWarrior,

maybe it's worth to remember:

- Telefonica, with more than 300k paying customers live for a year now. this was home-grown but is now a Lucent product being installed in other customers such as O2 in Czech.
- Free in France. Don't have an accurate number of subscribers but I believe they're near 500k. Homegrown solution too, I think.
- PCCW in Korea, with an Orca IPTV deployment of over 800k subscribers I think.
I'm sure there are many others around the world...

So I'd say it's not the industry as a whole finding IPTV more difficult to introduce than former technologies; it's rather Microsoft not being able to come up with a decent product that works, and hiding those problems for two years now. But... it's Microsoft and carriers seem to bet for their solution just because of the name. Even when tier 1 deployments are being a complete disaster up to now.

Strange, isn't it? No telecom vendor has ever found such understanding and patience in customers before...

my two cents

trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:33:24 AM
re: Alcatel Preps New Tech Roadmap
Don't forget the -huge- offering from Thompson (Thales Broadcast) at FranceTel. They are what, 500k or so now?

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