Alca-Lu confident ahead of Sprint network bid

Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) is confident in its ability to snag a multi-billion network modernization contract from Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), and expects a decision will be announced soon, a senior executive said. 

Alcatel-Lucent Asia-Pacific President Rajeev Singh-Molares told Dow Jones Newswires that he thinks Sprint will decide on its vendor partner soon, though he did not give a specific date. "We are very confident in the superiority of our technology," he said.

A report last week in the Wall Street Journal indicated that Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung are finalists for the project, which includes the deployment of a new, multi-mode base station. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has indicated that the carrier hopes to announce a vendor partner by year-end. The report also said that Sprint decided to block both Huawei and ZTE from the deal because of mounting national security concerns about the Chinese vendors. The deal is worth $5 billion to $7 billion, according to the WSJ

If Alca-Lu were to land the deal it would be another feather in its cap; the company capped a strong third quarter by securing a four-year, $4 billion infrastructure deal with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) for Verizon's continuing 3G EVDO expansion as well as its LTE network buildout. The company also signed $1.66 billion worth of deals with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom earlier this month.

Interestingly, Sing-Morales said he expects the first 4G deployments in Asia to be in India. "Where's the first 4G network going to be deployed in Asia? I think probably it's going to be India ... It could also be Japan or Korea, it depends on how trials go," he said. NTT DoCoMo has pledged to launch LTE service in Japan at the end of December.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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