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Coming soon: Alcatel-branded cell phones

All signs point toward the company entering the U.S. handset market this year.

Cellatel's logo

Every year, as we approach the annual CTIA cell phone blow-out, the industry's rumor mill kicks into high gear. And this year, the latest gossip to pop out of the blogosphere concerns the possible entry of French telecom giant Alcatel into the North American handset market. Phonescoop is reporting that the company will appear at CTIA to introduce a lineup of midrange and basic GSM phones. Specifics are few at this point, but it appears Alcatel is partnering with a company called Cellatel (catchy name, no?) to actually manufacture the handsets. Besides confirming the CTIA debut, Cellatel's Web site doesn't say much either, but it does list a gallery of current, mostly candy bar, models sold in Europe and South America. You can be assured Crave will get the full story as we report from CTIA March 27 through March 29.

Phonescoop also says that last year Alcatel ran trials with Cingular, but the carrier has yet to pick up any of the phones. And, as for this year, Alcatel may choose to go the MVNO route instead.