MWC2016 Special: Post-AlcaLu Nokia looks forward to 5G, IoT

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri used the first major public event since the closing of the Alcatel-Lucent deal to update on the new entity’s progess, but he had an acquisition and a new IoT-focused investment fund to talk up too.

“Nokia is in a dramatically different position, it is unparalleled what we cover,” said Suri, laying out its areas of strength.

He also put to bed any suggestion that the combined entity’s fixed networks business was up for sale. “We have no plans to divest. Previously it was sub-scale, today it is profitable.”

Similarly, Nuage Networks, AlcaLu’s SDN business, is not about to depart either. “It stays and we continue to invest,” Suri confirmed.

“Just because we divested in the past does not mean we will do the same in the future,” he added.

On integration, he said new deployments of 4G will focus on the current Nokia. They are also developing a common public radio interface. Small cells are complimentary, he said. IMS is a Nokia focus while video and content is AlcaLu.

Later, during the Q&A, he confirmed there will be rationalisation in the portfolio, mainly in the mobile network business, starting with radio access plus some of the core, as well as subscriber data management.

IoT and 5G are central to the new Nokia, and both received a boost from separate announcements.  Suri said the vendor would “dramatically” increase 5G investment this year, without being more specific about figures.

To which end, Nokia Growth Partners announced the closing of a $350 million fund for investing in IoT firms. The fund will invest mainly in the connected enterprise, consumer solutions, connected car and digital health, as well as enabling technologies with a focus on big data and analytics.

Acquisition
Next, Nokia plans to acquire Canada’s Nakina Systems, a security firm which specialises in both IoT and 5G, among other areas. The fee was not disclosed and the deal is due to close in the first quarter of 2016.

The Finnish vendor also unveiled the next generation of its Airscale Radio Access product, which the company described as “5G-ready”. Suri said the description means the equipment’s software can be upgraded to 5G when operators have the appropriate spectrum and licences in future years.

Also, during the Q&A he was asked whether the company still planned a return to the device market. He confirmed Nokia did but said: “We have no specific timeline and will explore this with the right partner. We think it is a good business model but there will be no manufacturing. We will license our IP.”


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