Alcatel-Lucent clinched its first deal related to Project Spring, Vodafone’s accelerated capital spending programme to extend 4G coverage in Europe and 3G in emerging markets.
The Franco-US firm will act as a ‘supplier of reference’ for small cells with integrated WiFi capability.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but Alcatel-Lucent can now bid on business in all Vodafone countries with its metro cell outdoor small cell products.
It’s a welcome boost for Michel Combes, Alcatel Lucent CEO, who has championed small cells as a key growth area as operators look to boost network coverage and capacity to support growing volumes of data.
Alcatel-Lucent signed a deal with Qualcomm in February to pool small cell R&D resources.
“In being named a supplier of reference, Vodafone has given Alcatel-Lucent a strong endorsement that our small cells will help them to deliver high quality service to their customers,” said Luis Martinez Amago, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s EMEA region, in a statement.
Alcatel-Lucent joins Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung as Project Spring suppliers (see table).
Flushed by proceeds from the sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, Vodafone set aside an extra £7 billion on capital spending under the Project Spring umbrella.
One investment target is to reach 91 per cent of Europe’s population coverage with 4G by 2016. Another aim is to cover 95 per cent of India’s population with 3G by that time.
The UK-headquartered group plans to invest a total of £19 billion (which includes Project Spring) over the next two years.