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MWC 2010: Is NSN Bouncing Back?

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Nokia Networks opened up its 2010 Barcelona campaign today with a slew of announcements intended to show how it is developing new capabilities in backhaul, subscriber management, and, of course, radio access.

The vendor's unifying message is that it's focused on tackling the mobile data overload pressures that are starting to hurt the carriers, while also looking to help carriers reduce their operating costs and make the most of their service and subscriber data.

After a tough 2009, during which the company changed CEOs, lost market share, and saw a dramatic dip in revenues, at least one analyst believes the company is better positioned and more capable of reversing its fortunes in 2010. (See Nokia Siemens Shrinks 18% in 2009 .)

"NSN is delivering a much clearer picture in terms of its positioning and messaging," says CCS Insight director of operator strategy, applications, and content Paolo Pescatore. "NSN is in a good position to bounce back after a terrible 2009. It has a good story with Long Term Evolution (LTE), with its unified access, packet core, and subscriber management capabilities."

"And the biggest thing operators are looking at is cost reduction: NSN is in a good position to provide operators with the technology and [professional] services they need to boost their bottom lines through cost reduction, and that's something of a differentiator for NSN."

Unfortunately for NSN, its LTE capabilities weren't good enough for it to get an initial foot in the door with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) or Verizon Wireless as those major U.S. operators start their next-generation mobile infrastructure rollouts. (See AT&T Picks AlcaLu, Ericsson for LTE.)

But the vendor's CEO, Rajeev Suri, responding to Light Reading's questions here today, says those setbacks haven't altered its North American strategy: "Nothing has changed. We are growing in North America -- we are small, but growing. And we have nailed it in Canada, and we're leading with our 40-Gbit/s optical platform." (See NSN Wins 3G Deal.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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