The race to deliver video over the Net puts telecom-equipment suppliers in line for another round of orders, says a Lehman Brothers analyst.In an upgrade of the network-gear making sector Monday, Lehman analyst Jiong Shao says Cisco ( Nasdaq), Juniper ( JNPR) and Lucent ( LU) stand to be the top beneficiaries of the telcos' big spending plans. Though the phone giants such as Verizon ( VZ) and AT&T ( T) are already two years into a fiber-optic network expansion, Shao says there's plenty of supply business still ahead. Industry observers see the telcos' push into the so-called triple-play services of calling, Net access and TV as a pivotal event that could spur cable and Internet companies such as Google ( GOOG) and Yahoo! ( YHOO) to spend more in an effort to keep up. "IPTV
Lehman's sector upgrade comes at a time when Juniper and Lucent have struggled to find new growth areas and have been the subject of merger talks with other equipment makers. Lucent awaits a board vote by Alcatel ( ALA) Thursday that could determine if the two companies move ahead with the latest consolidation plan. The proposed deal would likely trigger an
increase in deal talks leading to more industry consolidation, say analysts and sector watchers. Cisco shares rose 9 cents to $21.45, Juniper was up 15 cents to $19.40, and Lucent surged 7 cents to $3.13 in midmorning trading Monday.