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Alcatel Lucent sees signs of recovery

The head of Alcatel Lucent's Middle East division says that the vendor's fears about reduced capital spending by telecom operators have eased, as it gears up to help mobile firms in the region roll out the next generation of wireless technology

Alcatel Lucent sees signs of recovery
BOUVEROT: Customers are maintaining and even expanding investments.

The head of Alcatel Lucent's Middle East division says that the vendor's fears about reduced capital spending by telecom operators have eased, as it gears up to help mobile firms in the region roll out the next generation of wireless technology.

Alcatel Lucent's recently appointed Vice President for the Middle East, Nicolas Bouverot, says that the France-headquartered vendor has seen "encouraging indications" about the telecom market globally and regionally.

"Alcatel Lucent is doing fairly well in this part of the world, even though the crisis has impacted our activities somewhat. Overall, we were a little bit more worried a year ago than we are today," says Bouverot.

"On the carrier side, we are seeing that some of our main customers have maintained their capex and opex budgets, where a year ago this wasn't a given. We feared some big cut downs on the budgets.

"But now, we are seeing some customers maintaining and even expanding on their investments," adds Bouverot. "Of course, that's not the case for everybody. We are seeing some who are cutting down, but overall the mix is not unfavourable to us and we are seeing a business that we are happy with and we are gaining market share year-on-year."

Bouverot says that geographically, the GCC region is "doing well", with encouraging signs to the west towards Egypt, while the east towards Afghanistan is "a little bit slower".

Operators in the Middle East are particularly keen to invest in fibre networks, with products relating to fibre all proving popular, including FTTX and GPON solutions being sought by Alcatel Lucent's customers.

"We are seeing our IP business also flourishing, and all of that correlates; when you put fibre in the access you get bigger bandwidth coming to your network, so you also need to upgrade the upstream IP network, so we are seeing some big growth there."

Bouverot says that on the mobile side, Alcatel Lucent is "cautiously optimistic" about the potential fortunes of fourth generation technology Long Term Evolution (LTE) in 2010. "Some of the leading operators in the region will start to look very closely at LTE in 2010 and we are fully geared for that."

Bouverot adds that Alcatel Lucent is currently talking to operators in GCC countries, and the vendor has seen the biggest interest in LTE from telcos in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

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