Jefferies' Geroge Notter reports Infinera (INFN -11.5%) has lost a $100M Verizon contract for long-haul optical transmission hardware to Alcatel-Lucent (ALU +0.5%). Infinera was considered the favorite to win the deal, which will make Alcatel Verizon's second long-haul supplier. Ciena (CIEN +3.9%) is the other.
Notter reports hearing "pricing was exceedingly low" for the deal, and that this, along with an intervention by Alcatel CEO Michel Combes, helped Alcatel win out even though Verizon's tech people are partial to Infinera's innovative DTN-X transmission platform (previous).
Notter: "The anecdote serves as another reminder that the best technology doesn't always win in the Communications Infrastructure space ... Relationships and pricing can go a long way." Infinera is said to have invested heavily in trying to win over Verizon, which would have acted as a major reference account.
Possibly motivating Alcatel to price aggressively: The company's optical transport sales fell 1.8% YY in Q3, and have been under pressure for a while. Alcatel reports on Feb. 6, and Infinera on Jan. 29.