Alcatel Lands Spatial for $250M

Mindful not to be left behind in the race to provide the next generation of mobile core network systems, Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) has agreed to buy progressive mobile switching specialist Spatial Wireless in a stock deal worth $250 million (see Alcatel Buys Spatial Wireless).

Alcatel had already struck an OEM deal with the softswitch vendor but has now decided total ownership is the best way to influence the development of a key convergence technology (see Alcatel OEMs With Spatial).

The acquisition allows Alcatel to market a distributed mobile switching architecture that involves the use of a centralized softswitch (Spatial's SIP-based Atrium product), to manage call and SIP session control for voice and data services, and media gateways deployed at the edge of the network.

According to Alcatel, the Atrium softswitch is designed to integrate with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)'s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) specifications that would enable the convergence of fixed and mobile services across a single network, and which will likely underpin the next stage of 3G infrastructure upgrades.

It is designed to work in 2G and 3G GSM and CDMA networks and offers a software-based upgrade path from the now widely deployed 3GPP Release 4 specifications to Release 5 and 6 specifications that are due to be implemented within the next 10 years (see Spatial Touts UMTS Switch).

Spatial claims its system is already in commercial use and in market trials, specifically in China, India, and North America, with more than 1 million ports deployed this year (for example, see Spatial Aids Unicom's GSM1x).

In addition, Spatial's development roadmap fits with Alcatel's commitment to the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) specifications, which allow the evolution of technology products using generally available standards-based hardware platforms.

Spatial isn't Alcatel's only acquisition announced today: It also splashed out $27 million to buy SIP feature server vendor eDial Inc. (see Alcatel Acquires eDial, Spatial Wireless).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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