The arrangement will help NSN round out its mobile broadband portfolio with Wi-Fi access capabilities, something that's becoming increasingly important as more smartphones are sold and mobile data traffic volumes increase.
Light Reading Mobile understands this reseller agreement is non-exclusive, which means NSN may look elsewhere to help support the Wi-Fi demands of its operator customers around the world.
NSN has already dipped its toes into the Wi-Fi waters, as it already has a product in development that incorporates Wi-Fi support. The vendor's Flexi Zone small cell product -- which will be commercially available in the beginning of 2013 -- supports Wi-Fi as well as HSPA+ and LTE, according to our recent report. (See Who's Big in Small Cells?.)
And while it seems likely that Ruckus is involved in that development, that has yet to be confirmed by NSN.
So, where else might NSN source some carrier-grade Wi-Fi smarts?
Beyond Ruckus, the other big service provider Wi-Fi players are Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), now that it has acquired BelAir Networks Inc. Neither of those companies are likely to feature on NSN's reseller list any time soon. (See Ericsson Adds Wi-Fi With BelAir Buy , Ericsson CTO Talks BelAir Buy and Mobile Ops Can Learn From Wi-Fi, Cisco Says .)
After those players, a speculative list might include Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR)'s subsidiary, Wavion Inc. , and might even stretch to Ubiquiti Networks, Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) or Meraki Networks Inc.
The interest in Wi-Fi from service providers is there, but the field of potential partners for telecom vendors looks small.
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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile