Alcatel and Ascend have agreed a joint Internet access development strategy, amid rumours that the telco and IP networking worlds are in for another major merger.
The two companies will design an IP service access gateway, based on Ascend's IP forwarding technology and Alcatel's networking software. Also in development is a router on a card, that combines the forwarding technology with Alcatel's switching technology. This will be included in Alcatel's 1000 BBX high capacity node.
Alcatel and Ascend have been working together for two years, with the French company distributing Ascend's networking products in Europe.
Last week, Alcatel posted a 15 per cent drop in operating profit, on a 29 per cent slide in revenues for the first half of the year. It also warned profits would be below expectations for an eight per cent increase. The company blamed the Asian and Russian economic crises.
Despite this, the industry is bracing itself for a new round of acquisitions as Lucent will be free to buy companies using its vast shares, instead of cash. The so-called pooling of interest restriction will be lifted on 1 October when Lucent celebrates its second year as an independent force.
Analysts are already predicting 3Com as a likely acquisition for Lucent, in response to Nortel bagging Bay Networks. Newbridge Networks could also be a candidate, mainly because it recently offloaded its carrier specific remote access interest, Advanced Computer Communication (ACC), to Ericsson of Sweden for $285 million.
Analysts speculate that the deal was done to make way for a new set of remote switches inherited from a new parent, possibly 3Com.
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