Light Reading
Lazaridis makes impassioned plea to keep LTE tech in Canada, says that RIM and Nortel had an LTE deal before the vendor filed for bankruptcy

RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure'

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
8/7/2009
50%
50%

BlackBerry 's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis stood up before the Canadian House of Commons industry committee meeting this morning and made a plea to keep Nortel Networks Ltd. 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) know-how in Canada, saying that the two companies had come very close to an acquisition deal both before and after the vendor filed for bankruptcy.

The bulk of the RIM exec's testimony focused on how the maker of the BlackBerry device had tried to cut several deals with Nortel to acquire both Nortel's LTE-related workforce and its intellectual property (IPR) portfolio for months. This IPR, he stressed, is crucial to keep in Canadian hands.

"During this entire process, Nortel knew exactly what it was we were interested in; we came very close to consummating a deal several times... so close that we were sending emails back and forth about issuing a press release," Lazaridis told the committee.

Lazaridis said that RIM had starting talking about acquiring RIM's LTE assets "months before" Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2008. (See Nortel Files for Bankruptcy Protection.) He laid out the sequence of events -- as RIM sees them -- for the Canadian politicos this morning:

  • Months before Chapter 11 proceedings, RIM starts talking to Nortel about acquiring LTE assets.
  • RIM believes a deal is in place, is "surprised" by bankruptcy filing
  • The Chapter 11 process means that RIM "increased the scope of bid"; Lazaridis never exactly explains what RIM was bidding for at that stage.
  • Lazaridis once again "thought we had a deal," when RIM finds out about the stalking horse bid from Nokia Networks .
  • RIM sees the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for the auction procedure. Under the terms of the original stalking horse bid, RIM can only bid for the LTE assets, and the deal doesn't include the IPR that RIM wants. Lazaridis decides that the company won't sign the NDA.
  • RIM issues a press release saying that it would bid $1.1 billion for the LTE and CDMA assets.

Earlier this morning Nortel executives had told the committee that RIM hadn't been allowed in the auction process because it wouldn't sign "the standard" NDA. "The courts have decided there was no shut-out," declared Nortel's chief strategy officer. (See Nortel Could Sell LTE Patents Separately.)

"We had already signed two different NDAs as part of earlier discussions," Lazaridis said. From his perspective, the new NDA would shut RIM out from getting the LTE assets and IPR it actually wanted because under the terms of the agreement it couldn't get both, only the assets and a patent license.

"If we had signed that deal we would not have been able to purchase both at the same time," Lazaridis elucidated, saying that the terms of the auction reduced the value of the LTE IPR for "RIM and other companies."

RIM says the auction was structured this way because it was built on top of the original "stalking horse" bid from Nokia Networks . NSN, it emerged earlier this morning, wasn't interested in the LTE patents, only the workforce. Nortel has said that the auction process was supervised and determined to be fair by the bankruptcy court.

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) eventually trumped NSN in the auction process. Lazaridis used his bully pulpit to call for talks on that auction and the IPR that Nortel holds. Nortel's LTE patent portfolio and development work is,"nothing short of a national treasure that Canada must not lose," he said.

"Before we rush to get rid of things that we believe are very important to Canada's future, all we are asking is that we all get together in a room -- RIM, Ericsson, Nortel, and the government -- and discuss it."

The Canadian parliament could further examine the deal under "net benefit to Canada" and "national security" clauses. Several committee members mentioned such possibilities during the proceedings, but no definite statements have been made yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive