Lucent: All Sizes Fit All
However, it is likely that Cisco will not be the only company keeping Lucent warm over this long, cold telecom winter, according to Ted Jackson, senior research analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. He reckons Lucent will partner with virtually any infrastructure provider if potential customers want it, from bellwether to startup.
"I think Lucent's going to try and be a pretty girl to everyone," he says.
This could be good news for wireless router newcomers such as Tahoe Networks, Starent Networks, and others (see Having a Flutter on the GGSNs). Particularly as major operators are becoming more open to a mix and match approach to network infrastructure (see China Unicom Picks Starent).
However, Jackson figures Cisco is clearly the "most logical" mainstream partner for Lucent. Why? "Because they're the biggest," he says. Besides, the other big partners -- Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) -- are "too similar" to Lucent, Jackson says.
Other analysts have come to the same conclusion for slightly different reasons. "I think a logical fit for them would be Cisco," Hasan Iman, telecom equipment analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners told us last month. "Because some of the other major players have already allied with Juniper Networks Inc." (See Springtide Ebbing Away?)
However, Lucent is still fluttering its eyelashes and won't kiss and tell. "Regarding partnerships with Cisco or others, as a matter of policy, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation," says company spokesman Steve Loudermilk. "We will partner aggressively with other vendors whose products fit our strategy and our service provider customers’ immediate needs. That includes sharing technology, assets, and intellectual property."
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung www.unstrung.com