Lucent's ( LU) wireless winning streak is persuading Wall Street to overlook a losing legacy. Though its conventional telecom equipment business remains torpid, Lucent is emerging as a reinvigorated leader on the wireless front. Happily for the company, wireless happens to be one of the few areas of solid spending in the networking industry. On Tuesday, the Murray Hill, N.J., telecom gear shop finally netted a
long-awaited supply deal with Verizon Wireless. The agreement, worth $5 billion over six years, picks up where a previous three-year arrangement left off and includes a $525 million wireless data equipment upgrade announced in March. Observers say the deal cements Lucent's status as Verizon Wireless' primary equipment supplier. But beyond that, Tuesday's win suggests Lucent could be ready to pick up other big contracts across the industry. On Tuesday, Lucent rose 11 cents to $3.49.
Cingular is drawing up plans to expand UMTS nationally over the combined coverage area of its network and AT&T Wireless, under the assumption that the buyout will be approved. Depending on the success of the trial, Cingular will make a roster of three to five potential suppliers next month. Then, some time this fall, Cingular will pick the two or three vendors that will split the estimated $1 billion-plus initial contract, according to a person familiar with the process.
land the Verizon Wireless job. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone, is the nation's largest cell-phone service. In January, Verizon Wireless announced a $1 billion plan to add the EV-DO fast mobile Internet access technology. Lucent, Nortel, Nokia ( NOK) and Ericsson ( ERICY) will split the work on that contract, with Lucent getting slightly more than half of the total value of the contract.