French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent has signed contracts with Vietnamese incumbent Vietnam Post and Telecoms (VNPT) and its cellular subsidiary MobiFone worth a total of USD28.5 million. MobiFone has engaged the vendor to provide GSM/GPRS/EDGE base stations across the country to improve the coverage and capacity of its network. Alcatel-Lucent will provide VNPT with optical nodes to connect base stations and to act as a mobile backhaul system in the northern region. The pair have also agreed to cooperate on the establishment of an ‘IP Excellence Centre’ in Hanoi, which will support the deployment of broadband networks throughout Vietnam. It will be run by Alcatel Networks Systems Vietnam, the joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent and VNPT.