China, India best bet for Alca-Lu's fortunes

During the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Paris last week, Alcatel-Lucent Chairman Serge Tchuruk revealed that the telecom equipment sector was "going through a new crisis" characterized by dramatically falling prices that are offsetting in gains in sales volume.

So Alcatel-Lucent should be keeping its fingers crossed as regulators in both China and India--two countries considered to have the most wireless growth potential--indicated last week they would move forward with licensing 3G networks. India is also looking to license WiMAX networks. 3G is beginning to mature in many markets with occasional contracts for capacity upgrades and now an economic malaise is threatening even the sparse contracts for upgrades.

While these markets offer the biggest growth potential, they are also notorious for delays and government red tape. You can bet Alcatel-Lucent and other vendor representatives are doing their best to fight for 3G in these countries. The worst thing that could happen is if China's regulators scrap 3G altogether and wait for 4G, which is one rumor that has been circulating for some time. --Lynnette