Essentially, the two companies believe they can get LTE infrastructure -- one of the options for 4G alongside WiMax and CDMA Revision C -- to market more quickly if they work together, and they are scoping out further collaboration possibilities in CDMA, optical, IP routing, and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).
The fruits of the joint venture -- about which the new partners are not releasing any financial details -- should be ready for trials this year and ready for commercial deployment in 2009, the duo said at a press conference today. “This is the right time to do this. It’s early in the LTE process,” said AlcaLu CEO Pat Russo, who co-chaired the press conference with NEC’s president, Kaoru Yano.
Both firms have already made headway in the LTE market: NEC is one of the vendors involved in NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM)’s 4G trials, while Alcatel-Lucent is involved in LTE trials at Verizon Wireless . (See DoCoMo Tests 'Super 3G',Verizon Goes LTE, DoCoMo Picks Ericsson LTE, and NSN Touts Tier 1 4G Trials.)
The move makes sense for both companies, says Heavy Reading senior analyst Patrick Donegan. “NEC doesn’t have the clout to be a global player on its own, and this gives Alcatel-Lucent a substantial opening into Japan, and potentially other Asia/Pacific markets, that they otherwise probably wouldn’t have had,” says Donegan.
While the companies had plenty to say in their official presentation about the JV, it’s what they said during the question-and-answer session that helped to put some flesh on the bones of the announcement.
As expected, LTE has been one of the major talking points at this year’s Mobile World Congress. (See Ericsson's Need for Speed, NSN Does LTE, AlcaLu, LG Team Up, Nortel Demos LTE, Qualcomm Targets LTE, Agilent Adds LTE Tester, and MWC Preview: LTE in the Limelight .)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading