Rumour Mill: Alcatel-Lucent losing ground with French operators

Alcatel-Lucent's strong relationships with French mobile operators is being challenged as competitors secure valuable infrastructure upgrade contracts in the vendor's home market, according to a report in French newspaper Les Echos.

Earlier this year, Bouygues Telecom, while not being a major user of Alcatel-Lucent equipment, selected Huawei and Ericsson to upgrade its existing network and deploy its LTE infrastructure, the report said.

Of more importance, France Telecom Orange has reduced its preferred supplier list from four to two, choosing Ericsson over Alcatel-Lucent for some regions, which reportedly includes the prestigious region of Ile-de-France, Paris. This snub came after FT Orange selected Alcatel-Lucent to build its first trial LTE network in Marseille.

Sources quoted by Les Echos also claim that SFR is not renewing its supply contract with Alcatel-Lucent. SFR chose Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to replace its existing 2G/3G base stations with NSN equipment that will also support LTE when needed.

SFR has followed FT Orange by cutting its preferred supplier list to two, with Huawei being selected for its advance base station technology, and NSN for its aggressive approach on pricing.

While Alcatel-Lucent has won large LTE contracts elsewhere around the world, notably the United States, this lack of support for the vendor France--once its domestic stronghold--reflects poorly on its chances to retain its current position as the No. 2 supplier of LTE equipment worldwide. Alcatel-Lucent told the newspaper that it continues to maintain "excellent relationships" with French operators.

Alcatel-Lucent still holds valuable maintenance contracts with French mobile operators, and trade unions are calling for Chinese infrastructure vendors to be banned from the French market due to security concerns.

For more:
- see this Les Echos article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Bloomberg article

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