Alca-Lu and Ericsson's big win is a huge loss for Nortel

The hallways at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona were abuzz with chatter about Verizon Communications' executive vice president and CTO Dick Lynch's announcement today that Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson will be the primary infrastructure vendors for the radio access part of Verizon's LTE network. Both vendors (along with Starent Networks) will play a role in the enhanced packet core while Nokia Siemens and Alca-Lu will be the IMS suppliers.

Predictably Alcatel-Lucent was ecstatic with the news. When I met with Mike Iandolo, president of the company's Wireless Product Division later in the day, he was buoyant. Clearly the news helped solidify Alcatel-Lucent's recovery under its new CEO Ben Verwaayen and puts to rest any rumors that the company was exiting the wireless business.

But just as Alcatel-Lucent and other chosen vendors were celebrating, I couldn't help but wonder about the losers. Although many analysts suspected that Nortel Networks (which filed for bankruptcy protection last month) would be overlooked by Verizon for its LTE gear, today's news seemed like another nail in the vendor's coffin. Can Nortel survive this latest disappointment? It certainly looks bleak for the company that once was a mainstay vendor for Verizon.

Nortel clearly isn't the only loser. Motorola, which was also overlooked, definitely could have benefited from some good news for a change.  When I spoke with Lynch about Verizon's LTE news, he said that while he hoped the company's vendor selection would help invigorate the LTE vendor community and spur other carriers to make similar announcements. I hope he's right. -- Sue

P.S. Congratulations to Research in Motion and all the other big winners at the GSMA Awards Gala at the National Palace. We were there so be sure to check out our pictures.

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