Lucent, OneTel eye European 3G mobile market

Australian telco OneTel and Lucent have yesterday announced a strategic alliance to pursue business opportunities in third generation (3G) mobile networks in the UK and Western Europe.

The alliance builds on an existing relationship between the two companies which includes a $1.1 billion contract awarded by OneTel to Lucent in April this year to build an Australia-wide digital mobile phone network.

Part of the funds for the venture will come from Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd, which yesterday paid $200 million to lift its stake in OneTel to 25 per cent from the 20 per cent it acquired in February, according to a statement issued by News to the ASX.

OneTel, which operates one of Australia's four GSM networks, and Lucent will collaborate to identify and address opportunities in countries where 3G spectrum becomes available, and work together to build 3G mobile networks.

Lucent will build, operate and transfer 3G mobile networks to OneTel following the same business model the two companies entered into in April and September for the Australian wireless market, the companies said in a statement.

The alliance has been formed to take advantage of the unique opportunity to buy 3G spectrum in the UK and other Western European countries over the next 12 months, the companies said.

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