AlcaLu Expands 3G Biz With AT&T

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) got a vote of confidence from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today with a wireless deal that expands its 3G wireless relationship with the carrier.

AlcaLu announced it will provide UMTS/HSPA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/High Speed Packet Access) Node B equipment for the expansion and upgrade of AT&T's 3G wireless network. (See AT&T Uses AlcaLu HSDPA.)

One of the keys to the win was the distributed nature of AlcaLu's Node B offering. That means flexibility in terms of how its 3G base stations and network elements can be deployed, AlcaLu spokesperson Kurt Steinert says.

"One of the big challenges for operators is being able to place their base stations. There are regulatory issues and zoning issues involved," Steinert says. "With distributed Node B you don't have to have all the components in the same place -- they could be up to a kilometer apart."

The agreement expands on a relationship between Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T that began in a simpler time, back when they were known as "Lucent" and "Cingular." (See Lucent Flagged for Cingular 3G, Lucent Linked to More Cingular Booty, and Lucent Grabs Cingular Action.)

Lucent was one of three suppliers chosen for Cingular's UMTS business, along with Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) -- before Nokia Networks -- and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). (See Cingular Confirms 3G Trio and Cingular Touts 3G Plans.)

"There's been some speculation about Alcatel-Lucent's position in terms of their place at AT&T," Steinert says. But he says this deal reaffirms the vendor remains "a major part of [AT&T's] network."

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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