Lucent Sticking With UMTS

HANNOVER, Germany – CeBIT 2003 -- Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) is in the 3G UMTS market for the long haul, even though the vendor has just two trials and no contracts to date, says CEO Patricia Russo (see Lucent Faces UMTS Crunch and Lucent Rallies in Nuremberg.

Responding to Unstrung's questions at the CeBIT tradeshow today, Russo stated that the company had not even considered quitting the UMTS market to more tightly focus on the CDMA wireless network equipment sector, where it is currently number one. "These are early days for UMTS," says the follicly challenged Chief. "We are very confident about our technical capabilities and our trials with T-Mobile AG and Telefónica Móviles SA. The opportunities exist for us, but it's still early days."

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) is the 3G upgrade for GSM operators, employing an air interface based on wideband CDMA (WCDMA) technology while retaining the same core network used for GSM (2G) and GPRS (2.5G). UMTS theoretically offers up to 2 Mbit/s, though the first deployed networks will likely only provide 150 kbit/s or less to end users.

Russo also reiterated Lucent's belief that the profit potential in 3G lies with business users. "We have done lots of research and we have a great business case for the mobile operators, based on providing high-speed wireless services for business users." Lucent is demonstrating its UMTS capabilities in Hannover at its own stand (see Lucent Shows 3G at CeBIT) and that of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) (see Telekom Drops Bomb on CeBIT).

Russo also believes Lucent has a great story for carriers with its multivendor integration services and network management software. The company's R&D is paying back as it develops tools such as wireless network optimization products that can save carriers time and money when planning and managing their rollouts, she believes.

On Saturday, March 15, Unstrung will be hosting a panel discussion at CeBIT, featuring industry experts: CeBIT Debate: Location-Based Services .

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung

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