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4G/3G/WiFi

AlcaLu's Wirth Rides on 4G

Ken Wirth is about to become the 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) man at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). But Light Reading readers will remember him as an optical general back in the Lucent days, or perhaps as a guy who keeps following Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) around.

AlcaLu announced today that Wirth will be in charge of the 4G/LTE division as of Aug. 31, a move prompted by Mary Chan's decision to leave. (See Chan Leaving AlcaLu.)

Wirth spent 24 years in the industry and has a resume that spans beyond wireless. He was vice president of the optical group at Lucent, presiding over a major Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) contract with Verizon in 2004. (See Lucent Lands Lambdas at Verizon.)

After that, Wirth took on a broader role as president of Multimedia Network Solutions, the group that acquired Riverstone in 2006. Riverstone's switches were to be included in Acuity, a software architecture for session management and Quality of service (QOS) that tapped Lucent's optical and IMS pedigrees.

That plan got chopped after the Alcatel merger in late 2006, and Wirth got a new assignment: making Verizon happy. As president of a Verizon-focused business unit, he signed the carrier up for a $6 billion CDMA2000 deal early in 2007. (See AlcaLu Lands $6B Deal.)

Verizon Wireless has now picked AlcaLu, alongside Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), to provide LTE equipment. (See MWC 2009: Verizon Picks LTE Vendors.) So Wirth, in his new role, will get to rub elbows with the carrier yet again, although he'll certainly be trying to pick up other LTE deals as well. (See Pyramid: LTE Growth Will Outpace 3G.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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