February 8, 2010 / 5:16 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Juniper unveils wireless products, challenges Cisco

* New products compete with Cisco-Starent, Alcatel-Lucent

* Juniper shares rise 0.9 pct (Adds executive’s comments, details, byline)

By Ritsuko Ando

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N) will begin selling new wireless products for mobile carriers, responding to bigger rival Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O) recent acquisition of a wireless technology firm.

Juniper said on Monday its new software includes Juniper Traffic Direct which, used together with its MX 3D routers, can help mobile carriers reduce network congestion and infrastructure costs.

Another software product, Juniper Media Flow, will be targeted specifically at helping wireless carriers deliver applications like video and music, the company said, adding that they will be available from the second quarter.

Kim Perdikou, executive vice president and general manager of Juniper’s infrastructure products group, said many of the company’s mobile carrier customers were struggling with the costs of managing wireless Internet traffic.

“As smartphones started to be implemented over the past two years..., the actual economics of how much traffic is delivered to the smartphone is beginning to break,” she said. “It’s not as though revenue is rising with the cost.”

The move comes after Cisco in December completed its $2.9 billion acquisition of wireless equipment maker Starent — a deal that some analysts said could hurt Juniper’s position among wireless carriers.

The new products will also compete with Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA. Juniper shares rose 0.9 percent to $25.23 in the early afternoon.

Some analysts have said Juniper, without some kind of acquisition, may lose out to Cisco when phone companies upgrade to next-generation, or 4G, wireless networks.

Juniper Chief Executive Kevin Johnson has said that while he is open to acquisitions, in-house research and development was a bigger priority. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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