MURRAY HILL, N.J.—Nothings spells “major contract win” like Lucent Technologies Inc.’s deal to supply Verizon Wireless with CDMA 1x EV-DO Revision A hardware and software as the carrier upgrades its nationwide network.
Verizon’s Rev. A announcement comes as no surprise; the carrier has previously said it will eventually upgrade to Rev. A. However, Verizon’s timing is a little surprising. Just three months ago, the carrier described Rev. A technology as “not baked.”
“The Rev. A stuff is all very interesting, but we know that this is technology that’s still in the oven, right?” said Ed Salas, Verizon Wireless’ vice president of network strategy and planning, in an interview with RCR Wireless News in March. “It’s not baked. We’re not going to provide a specific timeline for [when Verizon Wireless will announce the rollout of] a technology that’s not ready. The advantages to being first in the marketplace, for a lot of products and services, don’t matter. When it goes to your core asset, your true differentiator, which is the network, what matters is experience in the marketplace. Strategically, we have every intention of evolving to Rev. A.”
Salas’ comments followed Sprint Nextel Corp.’s announcement that it would offer commercial Rev. A services by the end of next year. Sprint Nextel has not named an equipment supplier.
In its announcement with Lucent, Verizon did not say when it would launch commercial Rev. A services.
Verizon’s upgrade to Rev. A will enable the carrier to offer a range of new services such as enhanced push-to-talk, messaging and Voice over Internet Protocol.
In the carrier’s announcement with Lucent, Verizon’s Salas said Rev. A “will allow us to provide our customers with new services that blend voice, data, video and multimedia applications.”
Salas also confirmed Lucent’s rock-solid relationship with Verizon, saying, “Lucent has long been a key partner and has helped us provide our customers the most satisfying wireless experience possible. Going forward, we’re going to count on Lucent as we roll out services, like Voice over IP, that will help advance the way people communicate.”
The companies said they completed over-the-air calls using Rev. A technology in August 2005 and have since conducted live VoIP and video telephony calls using the Rev. A Quality of Service feature.
Earlier this month, Qualcomm Inc. said it successfully demonstrated fully mobile VoIP calls over its EV-DO Rev. A technology, signaling that handsets for Rev. A subscribers soon may be available to both Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel.
Lucent touts Rev. A as an enhanced version of CDMA2000 1x EV-DO that increases the efficiency, data speeds and capacity of existing EV-DO networks, enabling users to receive data on a forward link at speeds up to 3.1 Mbps and send data on a reverse link at speeds of up to 1.8 Mbps. These increased forward and reverse link data speeds reduce data latency, which helps operators deliver multimedia services such as VoIP.
Financial details of the Verizon-Lucent deal were not disclosed.
Separately, Lucent last week announced a $10 million Rev. A deal with Telecom New Zealand to upgrade the carrier’s existing CDMA2000 1x EV-DO network. Lucent said Rev. A technology would be available in some New Zealand markets by Christmas, with others to follow next year.
Also, Chinese vendor ZTE Corp. racked up a Rev. A contract, having signed on to add Rev. A to Skytel’s CDMA2000 1x EV-DO network in Mongolia. Skytel, the country’s largest CDMA operator, said it plans to launch Rev. A-based services in Mongolia’s major markets.