Alcatel-Lucent and SHD, a corporate joint venture between SFR and Neuf Cegetel, have signed a two-year contract for the supply and installation of the first next-generation WiMAX network in France, using standard 802.16e-2005. Under the agreement Alcatel-Lucent will equip the planned sites of SHD's WiMAX network in the Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) regions by mid-2009.

The first sites are already operational in the Paris region due to a pilot network deployed at the end of 2006 and will be operational in the PACA region this summer.

Based on the latest standard IEEE 802.16e-2005, the new radio network will use the 3.4 to 3.6 GHz frequency band. It will enable professional and residential subscribers alike to connect to broadband Internet in fixed and nomadic environments in areas with little or no DSL coverage.

Olivier Picard, president of Alcatel-Lucent's Europe and South activities commented, "This first WiMAX reference in France confirms Alcatel-Lucent's commitment to this technology, which is at the core of our universal broadband access strategy. It shows moreover that we are devoting the best of our R&D resources to satisfy our customers in France and throughout the world."

Frédéric Laforest, executive vice president of SHD added, "WiMAX gives the possibility of distributing state-of-the-art services, particularly in rural or urban regions that today lack sufficient connectivity. We considered that Alcatel-Lucent's solution offered the best performance and was the most innovative."