Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent is bullish about its prospects in the United States this year, after securing big contracts at major operators like Verizon and Sprint Nextel .

Robert Vrij, who heads Alcatel-Lucent's Americas business, told Reuters in an interview that the group was gaining market share in the U.S. and expected telecom operators' investments in network gear to grow this year.

The magnitude of what is happening in the United States, with three major operators rolling out new networks at the same time, is just amazing, said VrIj, referring to build outs at Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. The driver of all this investment is the explosion of data traffic on the networks because of smartphones and mobile Internet.

Analysts are expecting anywhere from 1.5 to 3 percent growth in operators' spending on networks this year. Alcatel-Lucent has predicted it will be in the high end of the 0-5 percent range.

Vrij said: The U.S. will probably grow a bit faster than the overall market.