Alcatel-Lucent scores with VimpelCom 3G network upgrade

Alcatel-Lucent secured a contract to upgrade VimpelCom's mobile broadband and business services network in Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The deal will see Alcatel-Lucent update the Russian operator's regional networks to support 3G service, and prepare for the future introduction of LTE. The award includes upgrading VimpelCom's data transport and mobile backhaul networks with Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) technology to support all of its mobile broadband and business service offerings.

Alcatel-Lucent said the upgrade will transform and simplify VimpelCom's existing network, help improve performance and reliability and reduce operating expenses. The upgrade contract will also include VimpelCom affiliates KaR-Tel and SkyMobile, which offer communications services under the Beeline brand.

"IP video, multimedia and other high-bandwidth applications are becoming increasingly popular, which is driving requirements for greater speed, efficiency and performance," said Georgy Pisarenko, head of group product and platform development at VimpelCom, in a statement. "The deployment of an all-IP infrastructure from Alcatel-Lucent will reduce network complexity and cost, while increasing efficiency, and serves as an important step in an ongoing evolution to IP across all of our operations."

While Alcatel-Lucent was unable to provide the value of this contract with VimpelCom, a spokesman told FierceWireless:Europe that, given the geographic scope of the deal "this is one of the most significant projects Alcatel-Lucent has conducted in this region for network transport evolution to IP."

Meanwhile, Russian operator MTS confirmed to Reuters that it is holding early talks with VimpelCom and other operators on setting up a network infrastructure joint venture. The JV would allow operators to share cell towers in an effort to reduce costs.

Recently, ABI Research named Alcatel-Lucent as the leading Carrier Ethernet supplier followed by Tellabs and Cisco as part of its latest mobile backhaul competitive assessment study. "Alcatel-Lucent's flexible portfolio supporting multiple and diverse backhaul network strategies was the key to the company's high score for Carrier Ethernet," said ABI Research analyst Nick Marshall in a release.

For more:
- see this Alcatel-Lucent release
- see this Reuters article
- see this ABI Research release

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