signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to buy
wireless network infrastructure business for $320 million.
Paris-based Alcatel, which is in the process of buying Nortel rival
, said it will acquire Nortel's universal mobile telecommunications, or UMTS, radio access business. The deal will help Alcatel "expand its global leadership in broadband access."
A significant majority of employees of Toronto-based Nortel's UMTS access business will be transferred to Alcatel. Following the transaction, Alcatel would serve an additional 14 UMTS customers around the world for a combined global footprint that amounts to one in four UMTS operators.
The news comes just a month after
reports of a deal in the so-called third-generation wireless gear area surfaced. Third-generation, or 3G, wireless networks enable features like email and Web browsing.
"This deal will be a win-win for both companies and our customers," said Richard Lowe, president, Mobility and Converged Core Networks, Nortel.