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Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm to Develop Next-Gen Small Cells

Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm plan to collaborate on small cell base stations that enhance 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity in residential and enterprise environments. The partnership combines Alcatel-Lucent’s experience developing small cells with Qualcomm’s small-cell chipset expertise.

The two companies hope to develop small cells with enhanced wireless network reception in environments such as urban areas, shopping malls and other enterprise venues. By working together, Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies intend to accelerate the adoption of small cells and alleviate the impact of mobile data on wireless networks.

As the density of small cells grows over time, the chances for interference will grow commensurately. As a result, future technologies will need to provide better signal-to-noise reception and improved optimizing.

To facilitate this acceleration, the two companies plan to jointly invest in a strategic R&D program to develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio small cell products featuring Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM9900 family of small cell chipsets.

On June 19, Michel Combes, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, announced “The Shift Plan,” which is designed to transform the company from a telecom equipment generalist into a specialist provider of mobile and fixed broadband access and core networking. Additionally, the manufacturer’s management structure will be reorganized into four main business lines: IP Routing and Transport, IP Platforms, Wireless Networks and Fixed Networks.

“This initiative [with Qualcomm] perfectly illustrates The Shift Plan we announced last month, which will see Alcatel-Lucent focus on growth technologies, including those facilitating ultra-broadband access,” Combes said. “We also said we would actively seek collaboration with key industry players, working together with Qualcomm Technologies.”

Combes replaced Ben Verwaayen, who left the company after it incurred a net annual loss of $1.8 billion in 2012, down from a net profit of $1.1 billion the previous year. It was the only one of the major wireless infrastructure companies that incurred a loss. As a matter of course, Alcatel-Lucent is shifting its assets and resources to high-profit areas.

ABI Research’s competitive assessment ranked Alcatel-Lucent as the most innovative vendor with three best–in-class scores for innovation in the areas of R&D investment and commitment, small cell and HetNet development and TCO innovation.