Alcatel-Lucent will use small cells to connect street furniture as part of a project with advertising giant JCDecaux.
The vendor said advertising hoardings can serve as the "ideal medium" for housing connectivity that would usher in smart city networks. It said: "Easy to install and to get quickly up and running, small cells help increase mobile networks' density of coverage, boosting capacity in saturated areas and offering high-speed access for all."
Both companies said they were working together to develop solutions that could lead to unobtrusive small cells that could be housed in street furniture, which could then be used by cities and telecom operators to connect residents. The first tests were completed in France.
Michel Combes, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, said: "As leaders and innovators in our respective industries this pairing allows us to work together to build truly ultra broadband cities prepared to meet the ever growing communications demands of our mobile society. As companies that work daily within local communities around the world, we deeply appreciate the benefits that a connected society can bring -- forever changing the way we are able to interact with each other.
"However, we also want to make sure we do this in a way that does not clutter or overly put a burden on our already stretched city resources. This requires that our two companies work together to deliver innovative and eloquent design solutions that boost our existing information infrastructure while keeping our urban landscapes uncluttered and making smart use of existing power resources."
Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-CEO of JCDecaux, said: "Rolling out a high-quality network has become one of the major strategic objectives in improving the appeal and competitiveness of cities, and we are pleased to work with the Alcatel-Lucent teams to increase our R&D efforts to design connected street furniture that is both functional and aesthetic. Through these efforts, we will showcase French expertise in building a Smart City."
The deal with Alcatel-Lucent will build upon JCDecaux's partnership with Telefónica, which was signed in the spring. The operator added "new digital features" onto JCDeaux's street furniture products.