CEO Combes makes case for Alcatel-Lucent's shift

While admitting that his company had missed the boat on a few major technology shifts, Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes asserted today at a symposium for analysts and journalists that The Shift Plan (see "Alcatel-Lucent shifts and optical transport, FTTx shift with it”) has his company back on track. The plan will see the company emphasize three focus areas that he believes will return the company to consistent profitability.

Nov 14th, 2013

While admitting that his company had missed the boat on a few major technology shifts, Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes asserted today at a symposium for analysts and journalists that The Shift Plan (see "Alcatel-Lucent shifts and optical transport, FTTx shift with it”) has his company back on track. The plan will see the company emphasize three focus areas that he believes will return the company to consistent profitability.

Combes told the audience at Alcatel-Lucent’s 2013 Technology Symposium in Basking Ridge, NJ, that the company had not been prepared for such technology shifts as the move to 10-Gbps DWDM in optical transport and CDMA in wireless. The Shift Plan will position the company not to make a similar faux pas as communications networks adapt to eight important trends Combes enumerated:

  1. An explosion of devices that will see users carrying 10 or more
  2. A resulting demand for ultra-fast access
  3. A concurrent requirement for ultra-fast core IP network resources
  4. The likelihood that cloud services instances will scale to the billions
  5. The expectation that telcos and cable MSO spending will grow faster thanks to investment in the preceding three areas
  6. Network infrastructures must create value by enabling rapid service turn up
  7. Large enterprises and the private sector will invest in carrier-grade network equipment and software
  8. The vendor community’s value proposition will move to support of cloud networking. Therefore, software and that ability to support application resources sharing will become more important parts of vendors’ product mixes.


Combes said that Alcatel-Lucent will react to these trends by focusing on technologies that support ultra-broadband service provision, cloud networking (which includes IP routing and optical transport), and monetizing its patent portfolio.

The broadband aspect will require expertise in both wireless and fixed broadband access network technology. Combes said that one interesting change in this niche is that a few years ago, fixed networks were considered an area with low growth potential. That is no longer the case, with Alcatel-Lucent’s success in VDSL2 and vectoring a catalyst for new opportunities, Combes said. Meanwhile, fiber will move closer to homes, to support both these copper-based technologies as well as wireless access via small cells – and, of course, fiber to the home (FTTH).

The company is well positioned in both the optical and wireless broadband areas, according to Combes, and will remain so thanks to emerging technology developments in G.fast and TWDM PON, to take two wired network examples. “We are the ultra-broadband telco specialists,” he proclaimed.

Meanwhile, the move to cloud-based services will require investments in IP and optical technology, as well as a way to manage these resources to create a programmable network. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) will be key technologies toward this goal, Combes said. The company’s Nuage Networks will be one catalyst in this area, he said.

In the optical domain, Combes said that Alcatel-Lucent’s current success with 100-Gbps and 400 Gbps coherent transmission systems shows that the company is on top of current and near-term future requirements. The interplay of IP and optical transport has created a new market space according to Combes who asserted that the company is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity as well.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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