The chief executive of French/US equipment manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent, Ben Verwaayen, has defended his firm’s decision to keep its loss-making mobile network gear division, The Financial Times reports. The CEO argues the unit, which is responsible for supplying 3G/W-CDMA network infrastructure, is still a valuable asset to the company and its customers. In addition, Mr Verwaayen says that the W-CDMA development work carried out by the division is an important cog in the wheel when it comes to bringing in even more advanced technologies such as so-called ‘4G’ Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Alca-Lu is bracing itself for a tough year ahead in the midst of the global economic downturn. After warning that the sector’s sales could fall by 8%-12% in 2009, Alca-Lu is seeking to break even at operating profit level.