Alcatel-Lucent still expects the global telecoms equipment market to fall 8-12 percent in 2009 at constant currency exchange rates, the chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent France said on Thursday.

Demand for capacity remains strong even though investments are slowing down, Pierre Barnabe told a telecoms conference hosted by French newspaper Les Echos.

Alcatel-Lucent will remain focused on the mobile phone sector despite repeated rumours that it could exit that business to weather difficult times, Barnabe added.

The contract with Verizon has definitely anchored us strongly in that business, he said.

In February Verizon picked Alcatel-Lucent as a key vendor for a new multi-billion-dollar high-speed wireless or Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network.

LTE is an emerging technology that promises to make mobile Web surfing about four times faster. There is increasing urgency worldwide for faster wireless networks as growing demand for mobile data is driven by smartphones and embedded laptops.

(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Greg Mahlich)