Partner Goes Solo

10:10 AM -- Here's the kind of news Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) doesn't need right now.

The giant vendor, which is under intense pressure and scrutiny, especially in the mobile infrastructure sector, has been ousted from a 3G network account in Israel by archrival Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). (See Ericsson Wins Deal.)

OK, so Partner Communications Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; London: PCCD) doesn't operate the biggest network in the world. But, as our new report, Who Does What: Middle East Carriers, shows, Partner has 2.8 million subscribers, so it's not tiny either.

Ericsson, of course, is very happy. It has become Partner's exclusive supplier of 3G access equipment, and it's replacing 1,400 incumbent Nortel Networks Ltd. base stations during the course of the next three-and-a-half years.

Nortel's 3G business, which was acquired by AlcaLu about a year ago, won the original Partner deal back in November 2003. (See Partner Picks Nortel For UMTS, Unstrung's Top Ten Stories for '06, and Alcatel Snags Nortel 3G Unit.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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