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Alcatel-Lucent's Hot Streak

Ray Le Maistre
5/31/2012

1:10 PM -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) appears hell bent on reminding the world that it's a force in the Asia/Pacific region.

Earlier this week we highlighted a number of interesting engagements for the vendor in Australia, Japan and New Zealand -- see AlcaLu's APAC Action -- and now the company has landed what could be a nice little earner in India, where it is providing Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) with its IP gear for the operator's packet backhaul rollout. (See Bharti Goes With Alcalu For IPfication.)

While AlcaLu has struggled to make an impact in the 3G and Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) radio access network (RAN) equipment market in India in the past few years, this plays more to the vendor's strengths. (See AlcaLu's India Alternative and The Big Fight For LTE Deals.)

And as Bharti is India's biggest mobile operator (more than 180 million lines activated) and the first mover in the country's 4G market, getting in on the carrier's packet backhaul upgrades looks like a good piece of business, especially as there are signs that the Indian market is set for a much needed confidence boost. (See Breakthrough in India.)

The vendor has also been shouting about the investments it believes will be necessary to keep Asia/Pacific competitive in the years to come. Addressing the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012 in Bangkok, AlcaLu's regional head honcho Rajeev Singh-Molares told delegates that US$1.1 trillion needed to be invested in telecom infrastructure before the end of the decade "to compete in the digital economy." And if the operators start reaching immediately for their old-fashioned leather wallets, AlcaLu will be at the front of the (alphabetical) queue to help them invest.

If you want the details behind that princely sum -- which amounts to 35 trillion Thai Baht, for those who like even bigger fiscal numbers with a local flavor -- check out this press statement.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Singh-Molares's boss, AlcaLu CEO Ben Verwaayen, proclaimed earlier this week that Europe's operators need to dig deep and start spending more money if the region is to avoid becoming a "digital desert." (See Euronews: AlcaLu CEO Warns of 'Digital Desert'.)

AlcaLu needs any boost it can get in any region. The vendor had an uncomfortable first quarter and its share price is still in the doldrums, trading currently at €1.26, giving it a market valuation of just €2.9 billion ($3.6 billion). (See Bad Start to 2012 for AlcaLu.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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