NSN Expands in North America With Moto Buyout
NSN is taking on an infrastructure player -- and around 7,500 employees worldwide -- that will give it more presence in the US, Japan, and other global markets. The company will also be buying in WiMax, Long-Term Evolution, and CDMA customer accounts from the Motorola unit.
NSN's CEO Rajeev Suri said on a conference call to explain the deal this morning that it was "no secret" that the company had been looking for a way to increase its footprint in North America. "This deal moves us from the number five infrastructure vendor in North America to number three," Suri said on the call. (See Reader Poll: NSN's Best US Fit.)
NSN already supplies AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US Inc. , and Verizon Wireless gear for the LTE core networks they are building in the US. The deal gives the company a CDMA presence with Sprint Canada Inc. and a fresh new WiMax profile at Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). On the international side, NSN will be taking on Motorola's deals with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and KDDI Corp. in Japan.
"We're already the leader in LTE," Suri claimed on the call. This is because, he says, NSN is working with 15 commercial networks, "not trials." Nonetheless, the Motorola team will bring in expertise on the proto-4G technology, particularly with regard to the Time-Division version of the technology (TD-LTE) that is popular in China and beyond. (See Moto Promotes TD-LTE at Expo 2010.)
For his part, Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown says the Chicago-based vendor will get to focus on building its devices unit and a "mobility solutions" company, focused on government, public safety networks, and the Enterprise, ahead of a planned split of the two elements of the company in the first quarter of 2011.
Brown didn't entirely rule out the prospect of more sell-offs at Motorola ahead of the spinoff, but he made it seem like a distant chance at best. "We’ve been working on this [deal] for several months," he told listeners on the call. "I’m not working on anything else."
The deal is expected to be closed by the end of the year.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile