Juniper Lands a Mobile Deal

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) might have set itself up with a wireless core deal, although for the moment it's just another router sale.

Juniper announced Allied Wireless Communications Corporation (AWCC) -- the former Alltel piece being sold off by Verizon Wireless -- as a customer today. AWCC will be using the new MX 3D Series Universal Edge Routers for Internet offload of traffic. (See Allied Wireless Picks Juniper.)

Those happen to be the same routers that will be the basis of Juniper's Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The companies aren't saying that Juniper is AWCC's eventual EPC choice, but Juniper is certainly quick to point out that the migration path is there.

An EPC deal of any stripe could help Juniper's reputation, considering the company's wireless strategy has been under fire since October, when wireless partner Starent accepted an acquisition offer from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Juniper's response was to declare Project Falcon, a homegrown EPC to run on the MX 3D routers. (See Cisco/Starent Deal Hurts Juniper, Juniper's Wireless Worry, Juniper Looks Inward for Wireless, and Juniper's Falcon Lands at CTIA.)

Juniper does have a foot in the door with Verizon Wireless, but that's for its SRX Series Service Gateway, a box that combines security and routing. (See Juniper Secures Verizon Wireless.)

AWCC is the six-state operator consisting of former Alltel assets. Verizon Wireless was forced to sell those assets as a condition of acquiring Alltel. (See ATN Gets Some Alltel Leftovers.) The $200 million sale, to Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (ATN), got approval from the DOJ last week and is awaiting FCC approval.

Assuming the deal goes through, AWCC will be a subsidiary of ATN, with headquarters in Little Rock, Ark.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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