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Lucent Forms Wireless Data Alliance

Looking to boost businesses' adoption of wireless data services, Lucent Technologies announced it had formed a group of wireless providers to offer companies an integrated suite of mobile services.

The Murray Hill, N.J., telecom-equipment maker has partnered with Agere Systems, HP, iPass, ipUnplugged, and Sierra Network to form the Secure Mobile Data Services for Enterprises initiative. The group will target the enterprise market with services that include a virtual private network (VPN) for 3G networks and a seamless integration of 3G networks with wireless local area networks. (LANs).

"Lucent has conducted extensive primary research with a wide variety of enterprises worldwide and determined that there is significant pent-up demand among enterprise customers for secure mobile high-speed data solutions, and a strong willingness to pay for such services, due to the workforce productivity gains that can be realized," said John Marinho, vice president of offer management for Lucent's mobility solutions unit, in a statement.

While endless delays have deflated much of the early enthusiasm for 3G networks, the market is expected to grow intensely. According to the Strategis Group, the mobile data market will increase from 5 million subscribers last year to 172 million in 2007. Meanwhile, 802.11 networks continue to proliferate, with the Gartner Group reporting that 50 percent of enterprises have plans for wireless LANs.

Lucent will offer the network architecture, while its partners will fill in the rest. The first offering of the initiative is a VPN for 3G networks using CDMA2000, allowing secure high-speed mobile access to corporate applications from laptops. Lucent said it would soon make the service available for PDAs.

Later this year, Lucent said the group would roll out its 3G-802.11 integration application, which is based on technology developed by Lucent's Bell Laboratories. With the application, corporate users would be handed off between CDMA2000 networks, which offer data speeds of 153 kbps, and 802.11b networks, with data speeds reaching 11 mbps.

Also in the works are applications for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and UMTS networks, with the expectation that the Lucent group will offer add-on services, such as network-hosted VPNs.