Vodafone Group

(VOD) - Get Report

was one of the gainers in Britain's


Tuesday, as the European tech and telecom sectors spiked ahead of Tuesday's

Federal Reserve meeting. But the telecom behemoth also was linked with two deals, according to published reports from Europe.


reported that British Vodafone, which has the most mobile phone subscribers in the world, said it had chosen

Cable & Wireless


as its main voice traffic carrier and as its partner in a three-month trial for data roaming services.

Under the pact, Cable & Wireless will carry more international voice traffic than any other company between national Vodafone networks in Europe, as well as work with Vodafone to provide email and Intranet access using advanced general packet radio switching, or GPRS, services. GPRS is also known as 2.5G - a middle ground between present second-generation GSM networks and third-generation high-speed networks.


wrote a

recent story examining the delay in 3G standards.

Separately, the wire service reported today that


(SCM) - Get Report

has agreed to sell a 25% stake in its Swiss mobile-telecommunications business to Vodafone for 4.5 billion Swiss francs, or $2.64 billion.

Swisscom, which is 65% owned by the Swiss government, said it expects Vodafone to pay with a combination of cash and shares,


said. The price of Vodafone shares for the deal, which was agreed to in November, will be an average of their market price over the last few days before closing.

Swisscom will use revenue from the sale to invest in the company's core activities and repay debt, among other things. The company may upgrade its Swiss copper-cable infrastructure to a fiber-optic network.

Shares of Vodafone closed at $29.24 in Monday trading on the

New York Stock Exchange, closer to its 52-week low of $25.80 than its 52-week high of $62.25. Swisscom finished at $22.53. The shares have a 52-week range of $20.31 to $43.50. Shares of Cable & Wireless closed at $20, near their 52-week low of $19.20. They have a 52-week high of $66.13.


Verizon Wireless

, a joint venture between Vodafone and


(VZ) - Get Report

, announced it

signed a $5 billion supply agreement with

Lucent Technologies


. The deal allows Verizon to purchase multiple products and systems from Lucent, including Bell Labs-developed software designed to expand wireless coverage, increase capacity and support high-speed data and mobile Internet applications. Verizon is also expected to launch a variety of Lucent's mobile Internet services.

Indeed, the telecom industry has been gaining ground, according to research firm

Gartner Dataquest

. The research firm said it expects the mobile phone industry to sell 507 million cell phones worldwide in 2001, some 50 million above predictions from most mobile phone makers.

The technology research group reportedly said the wireless industry deserved a "reasonably bullish view," particularly in Europe and Asia, and that the only soft market was in the U.S., where slowing sales have hit mobile phone operators such as


(NOK) - Get Report

. The company recently

warned of a sales shortfall, joining its beleaguered competitors like






that have issued a host of earnings warnings.

Gartner said it expects Asia to be the largest market for mobile phones in 2001, capturing some 170 million phone sales, while Western Europe will be the second largest market. North America will come in third, as shipments are forecast to reach 90 million units, an 18% increase over 2000.

Shares of Nokia were lately trading up 1.4% to $25.05 in pre-open


activity, while Ericsson slid 1.9% to $5.70 and Lucent climbed 6.6% to $10.65.