Alcatel-Lucent and NEC join forces on LTE development

Alcatel-Lucent and NEC have formed a joint venture to accelerate their development of LTE solutions by pursing a common product vision with a single roadmap and R&D budget.

The venture, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will fully integrate R&D teams from both partners and will be equally funded by the two companies.

An MoU was signed in January, but teams have been working together for six months on LTE R&D.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Patricia Russo insisted at a press conference, announcing the venture to a media audience of more than 250, that the JV is an offensive play aimed at "attacking the opportunities in the LTE market," which the companies project reaching 400 million users by 2015. They expect 20 operators to implement LTE platforms in the next two to three years.

She said that by joining R&D efforts and leveraging their joint expertise, the JV would speed up product development and boost scale, allowing the two companies to transform their advanced wireless portfolio for the future. "The venture is not a way of reducing costs."

NEC president Kaoru Yano said that each company would be responsible for its own go-to-market strategy, covering fulfillment, integration and field support. He said once the converged LTE platform is completed, each would implement market-specific configurations depending on their customers' requirements. They plan to start trials later this year and roll out deployments in 2009.

Russo admitted that is had been difficult for Alcatel-Lucent to widen its footprint in Japan and the venture offered a way of expanding in that market. 

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