Expanded Deal Could Bring Novatel $50M

Wireless specialist Novatel could reap up to $50 million in new sales over the next 18 months thanks to an expanded contract with Lucent .

The San Diego company will supply its Merlin U530 wireless modem card to Lucent, which is including them in its offerings to mobile operators in Europe and Asia.

Inserted into Windows-powered laptops, the card allows users to access the Internet and corporate intranet with the same level of security as in the office.

At speeds up to 384 kbps, business travellers to transmit data-intensive files such as photos, PowerPoint presentation, AutoCAD documents and streaming audio and video.

“The expansion of our agreement is a significant step as we move from the research and development phase of this initiative into the commercial realm,” said Peter Leparulo, Novatel’s CEO.

Deliveries of the Merlin U530 to Lucent are scheduled to start during the fourth quarter. The 7-year-old company also has partnerships with AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Hewlett-Packard, Palm Computing, and Symbol Technologies and Qualcomm.

The company’s stock was up nearly 20 percent in late-day trading on the Lucent news.

Lucent reported disappointing results from its mobile group in the last quarter. But since then has reported strong deals in the sector. The largest came late last month when it tallied a $1 billion contract to supply advanced networking equipment to Sprint over several years.

The gear — which includes base stations, switches and software — will improve Sprint’s third-generation (define) network that covers major U.S. markets. Installation, integration and remote technical support will come from Lucent Worldwide Services, the firm’s consulting arm.

It also recently closed two deals with Russian mobile carriers to enhance their networks.

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