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French Telco Alcatel to Expand U.S. Presence

French telecom equipment maker Alcatel increased its North American footprint with the acquisitions of Spatial Wireless and eDial. The deals, announced Friday morning, will cost Alcatel about $277 million in cash and stock.

Richardson, Texas-based Spatial Wireless develops software-based and multi-standard distributed mobile switching solutions. Its flagship product, Spatial Atrium, is a multi-standard mobile softswitch that controls distributed media gateways and manages call-session control for voice and data services.

The product, which works in GSM/EDGE, 3G/UMTS and CDMA networks, is already in commercial use and in market trials with GSM and CDMA operators. Spatial Wireless says it has been deployed in North America, India and China with more than one million ports.

According to Alcatel, Spatial Atrium allows mobile operators to distribute the call bearer switching function closer to traffic hotspots, reducing traffic backhauling costs and overall operating expenditures.

"Through the acquisition of Spatial Wireless, Alcatel leapfrogs traditional mobile switching technologies ... to address the U.S. and CDMA markets, in addition to our GSM/UMTS-based customers," Mike Quigley, senior executive vice president pf Alcatel and president of Alcatel North America, said in a statement.

Quigley said the Spatial Wireless deal would give Alcatel a "path to the introduction of IMS (IP multimedia subsystems), thus accelerating the rollout of Alcatel's portfolio user-centric broadband strategy."

Under the terms of the Spatial Wireless deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, Alcatel agreed to pay approximately $250 million in shares for the total capital of the company.

Alcatel's $27 million cash deal for Waltham, Mass.-based eDial gives the company an enterprise level conferencing and collaboration platform.

With approximately 30 employees, eDial currently serves more than 100 customers through direct and indirect channels. Its key products includes an open SIP software-based platform, as well as applications for voice, data and video conferencing.

"The ability for enterprises to conduct real-time conferencing and collaboration that combines voice, video and data with instant messaging and presence increases employee efficiency and contributes to improved business processes," Jean-Christophe Giroux, president of Alcatel's Enterprise Solutions activities, said in a statement.

As part of the acquisition, which closed Friday, eDial's current development, sales and support operations will remain in Waltham.