Orange 3G Contracts Bring Vendors Green

Mobile carrier Orange has reached preliminary agreements with three telecom equipment suppliers to build out part of its European third-generation network.

The subsidiary of France Telecom said it has chosen Alcatel , Nortel Networks and Nokia for gear and services associated with the upgrade.

Details will be released shortly.

The vendors, mindful that the pacts are non-binding, confirmed their selection, but offered little more.

“The agreement with Orange is a “framework” agreement with deployment schedules, market allocations and volume levels still to be determined,” Nortel said in a statement.

For Nortel, it’s the second big 3G deal this month. Earlier, the Canadian company announced that it will supply Verizon Wireless with $1 billion worth of infrastructure for the carrier’s backbone upgrade.

Even though the Orange contract specifics are unknown, the deals are considered significant — both in terms of revenue and as further proof that service providers are loosening their purse-strings for 3G after two years of caution.

Greatly expected to usher in an era of new, high-tech communication, 3G has yet to catch fire and ignite to be the revenue monster industry analysts anticipated it would be a few years ago.

But there are signs that the technology is gaining momentum — particularly in Japan, where wireless services are perhaps most popular and advanced, according to market research firm IDC.

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