NSN's Small Hope for North America

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Some of Nokia Networks 's hopes for expanding in the North American market will rest on small-cell technology that it acquired from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), according to the vendor's CEO Rajeev Suri.

Suri told a gathering of journalists and analysts on Sunday here in Barcelona that the vendor had improved its position in the North American market, pointing to a 47 percent year-on-year increase in revenues in 2011 that was mainly due to the acquisition of Motorola's wireless infrastructure business, and that it saw further opportunities in that market. (See NSN Suffers in Q4, NSN to Buy Moto's Wireless Biz for $1.2B , NSN Expands in North America With Moto Buyout and NSN Finally Seals $975M Moto Deal.)

Part of those opportunities will come from small-cell technology.

"Small cells -- we have some 'wow' solutions that we got from Motorola -- something that could be deployed in the U.S. first," said Suri.

The vendor didn't elaborate on exactly what those products would be, but NSN's Head of Network Systems Marc Rouanne explained that, with the acquisition, the vendor gained Moto's femtocell, wireless router and access point technology. And some of that technology has already been put to use. In Brazil, where pay-TV operator Sky has deployed NSN's Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) equipment, the customer premises equipment used is based on Motorola technology. (See SKY Launches TD-LTE with NSN in Brazil and AlcaLu, NSN Storm LatAm.)

The emphasis on small cells fits with NSN's vision for future network capacity needs that it calls the "Gigabyte Revolution," whereby there will be 1 gigabyte used per user, per day by 2020. The capacity needs will require 10 times more cell sites, of which 80 percent will be small cells, according to NSN's Suri.

In addition to small cells, Suri also pointed to optical, LTE deals in Canada and T-Mobile US Inc. 's network expansion as bright spots in North America. (See T-Mobile Will Launch LTE in 2013 and T-Mobile's Race to Faster 4G.)

"We have been quite successful in optical," said Suri. "And we have three LTE contracts recently in Canada. T-Mobile is planning to do some modernization -- watch this space. We're already a supplier there and hope to penetrate further."

In the U.S., NSN supplies the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) equipment for Verizon Wireless 's LTE network, but it missed out on LTE radio access supply contracts with the country's two biggest operators, Verizon and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The vendor also had LTE disappointment with LightSquared , which was once hailed as being worth US$7 billion in business for NSN. (See Lights Out for NSN's $7B LTE Deal and Spradley: Nokia Siemens Will Be an LTE Leader.)

But Suri is hopeful that this will change.

"I'm cautiously optimistic and in the near-term confident that we'll have some breakthrough in North America," said Suri.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:41:22 PM
re: NSN's Small Hope for North America

T-Mob will need LTE small cells as they deploy to keep theorethical maximum speeds 72-Mbit/s ;-) from slowing to a dribble in busy cities.

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