French equipment manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent is reportedly close to securing a contract from a major domestic telecoms operator, the Economic Times reports. According to sources familiar with the matter, the deal reportedly involves ‘small cells’ which improve mobile coverage over a range of ten to 200 metres. The announcement comes days after Alcatel-Lucent made headlines by revealing plans to cut 10,000 jobs in an attempt to stem years of losses and turn the company around; Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister of Industrial Renewal, called on the country’s network providers to help the struggling equipment vendor by favouring its products over those of cheaper rivals.
In July 2013 Alcatel-Lucent mobile chip maker Qualcomm entered into a partnership to develop small cell base stations that enhance 3G, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE)and Wi-Fi networks to improve wireless connectivity in residential and enterprise environments. Alcatel-Lucent is reportedly investing around USD135 million in the Research and Development (R&D) programme.