updated 10:29 am EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
Three to five similar deals to follow miniature base station agreement
Qualcomm has signed an agreement with Alcatel-Lucent to work together on creating small base stations for phone networks. The deal, which involves Qualcomm gaining a five-percent stake in Alcatel-Lucent in exchange for around 100 million euro ($132.8 million) in research funding, could help turn around the telecom equipment manufacturer's troubling finances.
Alcatel-Lucent's latest quarterly results saw it increase its revenues by 1.9 percent to 3.61 billion euro ($4.78 billion), reports Reuters, though it still suffered a net loss of 871 million euro ($1.2 billion) and consumed 248 million ($329 million) of its cash reserves. It has also managed to lose more than $10 billion in value since its creation via a merger in 2006.
The research deal with Qualcomm for the small cells may be one way for the company to reverse its fortunes, but it expects to make three to five more similar R&D deals in the future. "Other discussions are underway," said Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, continuing "we hope to make announcements in the coming quarters."
The miniature base stations offer a coverage area of between 10 and 200 meters (33 to 656 feet) are being used by carriers to offer signal in densely populated or high-traffic areas, with the femtocell and picocell masts being deployed by AT&T and Vodafone within buildings and in areas otherwise unserviceable by normal base stations, and in some cases, providing cellular networks within subscriber homes. Considering the increasing take-up of mobile devices, the sales of such smaller cells are likely to rise in the future, though it may not be enough for Alcatel-Lucent fight off similar competition from other infrastructure providers such as Ericsson and Huawei.