Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
Fresh from announcing a major expansion of its 3G/4G contract with Verizon Wireless, and a surprise return to profit, Alcatel-Lucent is in bullish mood.
It is expressing confidence that it will gain a big part of Sprint's upcoming multibillion dollar network upgrade, now that Huawei has been ruled out, and is also expecting to spearhead 4G deployments in China and India.
In an extensive interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Alcatel-Lucent Asia-Pacific president Rajeev Singh-Molares said of the Sprint deal: "We are very confident in the superiority of our technology."
The contract, for multimode base stations to support a range of current and future networks, should be worth $5 billion-$7billion. With Chinese suppliers reportedly excluded from the bid – apparently under pressure from US security concerns –Alca-Lu and Ericsson are said to be the frontrunners, although Sprint wants their price bids to be reduced. The two vendors have also shared the LTE deals at both Verizon and AT&T.
But many of the biggest 4G opportunities for Alcatel-Lucent will be in Asia, Singh-Molares insists. It has already taken part in China Mobile's trial TD-LTE network for Shanghai Expo, and is confident that it will gain significant Indian business too.
Strangely, considering that Japan's NTT DoCoMo aims to go live with LTE next month, the executive thinks the first LTE deployment in Asia will be in India, during the second quarter of 2011.