Mobile JetStream high spot for vexed Lucent

The hard-hit telecommunication vendor which supplied the network that runs Telecom New Zealand Ltd.'s Mobile JetStream now gets over half of its revenue from mobile services.

And Lucent Technologies Inc. network solutions architecture vice-president Bill Goers says the launch of Mobile JetStream, Telecom's CDMA1x-based cellular data service, is a bright spot in what has been a bleak two years for Lucent.

Lucent's Telecom NZ CDMA contract is believed to be worth around NZ$200 million (US$94 million) , but the failed CDMA plans of Telecom's Australian subsidiary AAPT Ltd. were estimated to be worth around $A450 million (US$247 million).

The U.S.-based telecommunication equipment supplier has had a tough time recently as customers have halted or curtailed network rollouts. It has made losses for the past nine quarters and cut its workforce by half since January 2000.

Goers says the company's mobile division began focusing on building 3G networks two years ago and does research and development on both the CDMA1x and UMTS/W-CDMA platforms. "We have the bulk of our R&D in spread spectrum, which covers both."

Goers, in New Zealand for Telecom's wireless data symposium series, acknowledges that Nortel, Ericsson, Siemens and Samsung are also CDMA network providers, but says with the exception of Nortel, the competitors have less experience in implementing CDMA. "There's a lot we've had to learn in that field in the past seven years."

Lucent was also affected by the failure of Australian telco One.Tel, which failed last year, owing Lucent $A957 million. Subsequently, the assets Lucent created while building the One.Tel network were transferred to Hutchison Whampoa (which trades in Australia under the name Orange), which plans to use them for its W-CDMA-based 3G network, to be rolled out next year.

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