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Alcatel unveils next-generation mobile platform

Vendor’s new wireless packet core designed to help operators migrate to LTE.

Alcatel-Lucent, hoping to cement its position in the next-generation wireless network business, unveiled on Thursday an upgraded platform intended to help ease carriers with their upgrade plans.

The Paris-based telecommunications equipment maker unveiled its Ultimate Wireless Packet Core, which includes a portfolio of products designed to move carriers to a fourth-generation, or 4G, network technology called Long Term Evolution. The company, which has struggled to regain its footing after the multi-billion-dollar merger of the Alcatel and Lucent operations three years ago, is relying on its work in 4G to spark its recovery.

“Alcatel is pointing to a broadening family of wireless products for the core and is looking to broaden the appeal to other carriers seriously considering LTE,” said Mark Sue, an analyst at RBC Capital.

Alcatel already has an enviable position with 4G. It, and L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., are the key vendors for Verizon Wireless’s LTE deployment, which is undergoing trials now. In February, AT&T Inc. selected Alcatel and Ericsson as its primary LTE vendors, although it won’t begin its deployment until next year.

Still, the company has had its share of issues. Last month, it cuts its target range for 2010 adjusted operating margins citing competitive pressure. While it has an eye toward the 4G opportunity, it has a large presence in the slower “legacy” markets.

Equipment vendors have been quick to address the growing amount of traffic that goes over the wireless network. Cisco Systems Inc. unveiled a faster router designed to provide a fatter pipe for wireline and wireless data. Juniper Networks Inc. also launched software designed to help carriers better manage their traffic.

Alcatel American depositary receipts fell 4.4% to $3.25.

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