Lucent wins $1bn Sprint gig, splashes more red ink

Strike breaker

Broken CD with wrench

At last some good news for Lucent, the hard-pressed networking equipment vendor. Yesterday it won a $1bn contract to supply 3G infrastructure kit to Sprint, the US mobile network.

Sprint is to base its next-gen network on Qualcomm's CDMA 2000, which comes as little surprise, as the company is a CDMA shop.

Lucent has been racking up big losses for three years now, and today it racked up a lot more, posting a net loss for its Q3, ended June 30, 2003 of $254m on sales of $1.96bn, a billion dollars less than last year. Mind you, last year's Q3 loss was a helluva lot bigger - $8.03 billion.

This current quarter is going to be especially tough as Verizon, its biggest customer accounting for 19 per cent of turnover, according to the FT, is battening down the hatches for a major strike.

Verizon is in dispute over pay negotiations for 78,000 of its 230,000 staff and unions have called for a strike on August 2.

Steve Kaman, an analyst at CIBC Markets, told the FT that a strike "would likely halt new equipment (installations), starging before the strike deadline and up to a few weeks after a strike's end. A three-week strike could mean five to seven weeks of disruption."

According to Kamen, Tellabs is the other vendor most badly affected by a Verizon walk-out. The company depends up Verizon for 18.4 per cent of its revenues. ®

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