Alcatel-Lucent teamed with chip maker Sequans Communications to develop key technologies for an Internet of Things (IoT) prototype platform launched last week by Orange.
The French-U.S. equipment maker revealed its Bell Labs research division has incorporated a Sequans LTE chipset to produce what it named the "4G Kit for IoT", which Alcatel-Lucent said will form a key element in the Orange platform.
Sequans' LTE chip has been incorporated into a three-band M.2 module for LTE bands 3, 7 and 20. The module connects to a small form factor development board, and has space for antennas to be plugged in.
Alcatel-Lucent said it will initially produce 200 of the kits, which it said enables machine-to-machine and IoT device makers to tap into Orange's LTE network. The test kits will be tested with innovation communities working on IoT projects, and form part of a broader attempt by Orange to boost interest in LTE as an IoT connectivity technology.
Jean-Luc Beylat, president of Bell Labs France, said making LTE test kits available to innovators can "trigger a change in the way services are designed" and enable connected objects to "create a new ecosystem of distributed advanced services that will shape the future cloud and 5G."
Sequans CEO Georges Karam added that his company is "excited about the potential" of Orange's project to "spur the development of many new IoT devices" and is "committed to making LTE efficient and cost-effective for IoT and M2M devices".
The news comes a little over a week after Alcatel-Lucent bosses said they will proceed with negotiations over a €15.6 billion ($17.4 billion) merger with rival Nokia, after securing the backing of the French Group Committee (Comité de Groupe France).
Shareholders of the French-U.S. equipment vendor previously cast doubt on the deal, which they said prices the company too cheaply, and could be a leap from the frying pan to the fire given Nokia's recent track record.
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