4G LTE Breakthrough for Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent has boosted its credibility in the 4G LTE radio access network (RAN) infrastructure market by landing a major deal in Spain with Telefónica.

The Spanish giant is in the midst of a major access broadband investment program covering FTTH and 4G LTE, with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) selected by Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) for the next-generation wireless access rollout. (See Euronews: Telefónica Pumps 4G, FTTH.)

AlcaLu is set to provide about 8,000 basestations and its 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) for a 4G overlay network that is part of one of Europe's biggest LTE rollouts. The vendor has been under Telefónica's scrutiny for quite some time, having been chosen for LTE pilot rollouts in late 2011. (See Euronews: AlcaLu Lands Key LTE Deal.)

"This is a notable deal for Alcatel-Lucent and a notable event in the 4G market overall," said Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown, a mobile infrastructure and services specialist. (See What 4G for Me? and Next Steps for Carrier Wi-Fi.)

"This deal provides Alcatel-Lucent with a real 4G LTE foothold in Europe, a region where it hasn't been very successful. This will be partly the result of the vendor's partnership that it struck about two years ago with Telefónica, and the trials that have already taken place in Barcelona, but AlcaLu must have really wanted to secure this deal because Telefónica is renowned as a tough negotiator," added Brown. (See AlcaLu lightRadios Go Live at MWC.)

The two companies are also working closely in a number of other engagements around Europe and Latin America. (See Telefonica Picks Alcatel-Lucent Router, Euronews: AlcaLu to Streamline Telefónica, Euronews: AlcaLu, Telefónica Are Femto Friends, Euronews: AlcaLu to Streamline Telefónica, and AlcaLu Lands Telefonica Femto Deal.)

Brown also notes that Alcatel-Lucent has specified that this is an overlay 4G network that it is building out for Telefónica. "This isn't unusual for AlcaLu -- it has been proposing the overlay approach to 4G rollouts for a few years as its 3G share in Europe has been very modest, which means a multistandard radio access network proposition is not a favorable one for AlcaLu."

AlcaLu says it now has more than 40 LTE deals globally and another 40 trials ongoing, but its main LTE success has come in the US, where it has won deals with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), while it has also won 4G contracts with the likes of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and Middle East giant Etisalat . (See Verizon Taps AlcaLu & Ericsson for 4G Small Cells, C Spire Picks AlcaLu for LTE Deployment, China Mobile Picks Alcatel-Lucent for LTE TDD, Sprint's First to Deploy Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio, and AT&T Picks AlcaLu, Ericsson for LTE.)

News of AlcaLu's 4G success in Spain will come as a blow for Nokia Networks and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which were also under consideration.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 9/6/2013 | 4:25:40 AM
Re: Bit like an ageing boxer So Alcatel-Lucent is Joe Bugner and lightRadio is his uppercut?
pdonegan67 9/6/2013 | 3:44:42 AM
Bit like an ageing boxer In RAN infrastructure market terms, this is the equivalent of an ageing boxer headed for a unanimous points defeat when suddenly he produces a big right hand in the dying seconds of the thirteenth round that rattles his opponent. A one-off fluke? Or can they press on to score again and again? The former has to be more likely but let's see.
pzernik 9/5/2013 | 11:36:05 AM
Re: But Now ALU needs more This makes sense for Telefonica since they have already picked ALUs LightRadio (an impressive system) and may in theory interop with any vendor's Macro eNB, likely not all the functionality and tools will be available in a multi-vendor overlay environment. Selecting only one vendor will also reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and allow the Telefonica to expand and upgrade their network more seamlessly.

[email protected] 9/5/2013 | 8:31:30 AM
But Now ALU needs more This is significant for ALcaLu in Europe, but Telefonica has long been a key account - what ALU needs now is a similar deal where it kicks out an incumbent, rival vendor -- that would REALLY shake up the market.
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