'

Lucent: Cost-effectiveness is the key

Since the invention of cellular technologies, Lucent Technologies has been a major player in the telecommunications industry. Despite its recent doldrums, the company remains true to its original calling harking back to the days of AT&T and Bell Labs.

Chi YooSince the invention of cellular technologies, Lucent Technologies has been a major player in the telecommunications industry. Despite its recent doldrums, the company remains true to its original calling harking back to the days of AT&T and Bell Labs. As Vice President for the Mobility Segment in Asia Pacific, Chi Yoo believes that key to the future of wireless infrastructure lies not just in technological convergence, but more importantly cost-effectiveness.

How do new technologies such as GPRS and 3G impact Lucent?
GPRS and 3G are the convergence of circuit and packet technology.

Since Bell Labs invented cellular, Lucent has been in the forefront of communications development, leading in ATM, circuit and packet switching technologies and deploying large-scale quality CDMA networks

CDMA is the core technology for 3G. With a clear technology leadership and vision, moving towards converged circuit and packet and CDMA-based 3G networks (UMTS and cdma2000) is a natural step for Lucent.

Next generation wireless is a great opportunity for Lucent to leverage and converge our unique strengths in 3G CDMA RF engineering, IP and ATM networking technology and SoftSwitch - the next generation switching technology, to provide end-to-end 3G solutions that give operators the competitive edge.

What are some of the latest, newest mobile trends?
Location-based services and mobile commerce are the new trends in mobile applications. A few years ago, mobile subscribers use the mobile phone to deliver and receive information. Recently, we are starting to see more customised applications that will deliver information at the right time, at the right place with the right content to the user. Location-based services will be critical for this application.

For location-based services, Lucent is one of the few vendors who pioneered this type of technology more than 7 years ago in the U.S as part of the 911 emergency call requirement. We have already started to deliver location-based services in the U.S. and we are in the process of delivering this service to Asia Pacific. Currently, we are in discussions with some of our major customers.

M-commerce will also be a dominant and much sought-after application. Market reports indicate that 25% of mobile subscribers worldwide will be using m-commerce in 2003. By that same year, financial mobile transactions are estimated to reach US$66 million. So, the market potential is huge.

These two applications are probably ranked among the “killer applications” that are much talked about these days. “Killer applications” will vary from country to country. Other applications that will be popular, in our opinion, although basic, are the different forms of messaging (voice, data, image, video).

How is Lucent doing in the local mobile markets?
The wireless mobile market in AP is recording continued strong growth. So, the outlook is promising.

Lucent's strategic direction is to sharpen our focus on growing our business in the hottest technology areas: optical, data, wireless. We will use our core technology strengths in optical, data and wireless networking to offer segment-specific broadband and mobile Internet solutions. Added to that, we have unique capabilities in software and services and that will allow us to bring together a comprehensive solution that customers need.

All in all, we are well positioned to provide technology solutions that will make networks easier to manage, integrate and cheaper to maintain.

In terms of 3G deployment, what is Lucent's game plan?
Lucent provides mobile network solution for GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, cdmaOne and cdma2000. Network elements continue to be enhanced and upgraded to meet current standards and market needs.

For 3G, Lucent views it as an enabler of multimedia real-time applications that needs to be cost effective. In other words, 3G is about cost savings as much as it is about delivering ‘wow’ applications.

With that in mind, Lucent has designed and is delivering next generation solutions that are primarily targeted at reducing operators' costs and helping them deliver services efficiently. Consumers will then stand to benefit by enjoying better services at affordable costs.

Lucent also believes that deploying a ‘rapid application development environment’ is critical; hence absolute flexibility in network solutions is required to permit appropriate ‘time to market’.

Tell us more about Asia and Lucent's role in the region.
Asia Pacific and China’s total mobile subscriber was 233 million in 2000, a growth of 50% from 1999. It is expected to have the largest subscriber base in the world, overtaking Western Europe, this year. It is also forecasted that the number will hit the half billion mark in 2005.

Asia Pacific is also a competitive market to play in. The reduction in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and competitive tariffs are some factors that increase the need to scrutinize capital and operational expenditure. Operators have this to reckon with while having to ensure reliable and quality networks to retain its subscribers, notwithstanding the need to come up with market differentiating services to capture the market segment they want.

Lucent’s next generation roadmap is rooted in the principles of 2G investment protection, adherence to standards that ensure both forward evolution and backward compatibility. Lucent advocates reduction of costs through consolidation of technology.

More about Top 20 Telecoms' Outlook.