hosted a dinner Monday for the investment community in Chicago. It served up a bounty of speculation on how the wireless tech giant might be shopping to fill holes in its infrastructure business.

Motorola shares slipped a nickel to $18.98.

Motorola has been on the sidelines in several large wireless network equipment contracts of late, and the company hinted that it may see a way to get more involved. Under the theme of industrywide consolidation, Motorola vaguely discussed the possibility of logical pairings with competitors; industry oberservers were talking about the likes of



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Siemens in particular is strong in global systems for mobile communications, or GSM, technology, which dominates Europe. Motorola, while weak in GSM, is strong in the primary U.S. technologies: code division multiple access, or CDMA, and time division multiple access, or TDMA.

As equipment spending slows and suppliers watch price competition squeeze profit margins, some form of consolidation seems logical. In a note to clients Tuesday,

Lehman Brothers

analyst Tim Luke wrote: "While any decisions would appear to be some months away, management seemed to suggest that joint ventures between the second-tier vendors such as Motorola, Nortel, Lucent and Siemens could be a possibility."