Alcatel-Lucent has signed a commercial and technological partnership agreement with fast-growing wireless start-up EBlink to expand its capabilities for 4G LTE ultra-broadband mobile access networks and small cells. The agreement includes a Euro 3 million investment in EBlink aimed at supporting innovation and accelerating business momentum.
This partnership will enable Alcatel-Lucent’s customers to benefit from EBlink’s advanced wireless solutions. It will provide new technological choices as they evolve their networks toward cloud and small cell architectures in order to meet the soaring demands for wireless data.
Commenting on the agreement, Philippe Keryer, chief strategy and innovation officer of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “As a wireless market leader, Alcatel-Lucent is committed to delivering innovative solutions that meet customers’ mobile ultra-broadband access needs.
“As announced in The Shift Plan, we are working with companies where it makes sense to strengthen our portfolio of solutions. Our work with EBlink allows us to further extend this comprehensive portfolio to meet all of our customers’ LTE and small cell deployment needs.”
EBlink’s wireless solutions complement Alcatel-Lucent’s wireless LTE and small cells offerings. The expanded portfolio will strengthen Alcatel-Lucent leadership in Cloud RAN and 5G architecture and drive a reduction in the cost of deployment overall.
Alain Rolland, founder and CEO of EBlink, added: “For EBlink, signing this partnership with Alcatel Lucent reaffirms the relevance of our technologies and will contribute to EBlink’s growth. As part of this agreement, Alcatel Lucent will address new market opportunities and distribute EBlink’s wireless fronthaul solutions to its mobile operator customer base worldwide.”
Alain Maloberti, chief network officer of Orange, welcomed the agreement between Alcatel-Lucent and EBlink. He said: “Orange has been working with EBlink for several years and we are pleased with the performance of their wireless fronthaul solutions. We fully support the integration of EBlink’s technology into the roadmap of our base station vendors.”
EBlink’s wireless fronthaul solution represents a major technological advance for base station deployment, eliminating the last few hundred meters of fibre that are so costly for operators.
The company’s FrontLink system, which operates in the unlicensed band, provides a wireless solution for last mile connectivity from fibre points of presence to macro or picocells. It can connect base stations to multiple sectors or support multiple frequency bands.
It does so without sacrificing network performance thanks to its high spectral efficiency, as it is able to squeeze up to three full capacity LTE channels into less than 75MHz of spectrum.
What this means for mobile operators is lower total cost of ownership, as they do not have to pay for expensive last mile fibre connections, more flexibility and a lot of scalability.
The solution reflects the evolution toward increasingly centralised telecom architectures, and allows for faster and easier deployment of 3G, 4G and future 5G networks.
Wireless fronthaul technology is seen as essential to the development of small cells, to ensure much-needed coverage and high-speed service. Industry analysts and major international operators now speak of wireless fronthaul as a technology that has become essential, Alcatel-Lucent said.