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NSN Buys Turkish Services Firm

Nokia Networks is to further bolster its professional services capabilities in Turkey and the broader Middle East and Eastern Europe region with the acquisition of telecom services and engineering outfit IRIS Telecommunication and Engineering Services Inc. for an undisclosed sum. (See NSN to Buy IRIS Telecom.)

And, in doing so, it could put a spanner in the works of some of its fiercest rivals that also work closely with IRIS.

IRIS, whose 630 Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialists help operators with their mobile network planning and optimization requirements, expects outsourcing in the Middle East and Eastern Europe to increase as mobile operators with 3G networks and 4G aspirations deal with the increasing complexities of managing IP networks. NSN sees that trend as an opportunity to dominate the region by combining its managed and other professional services capabilities with IRIS's regional knowledge and contacts.

NSN says it plans to utilize IRIS's "localized operations and strong position in NPO [network planning and optimization] to improve our own service delivery model in Turkey, Eastern Europe and Central Asia."

IRIS has offices in Belarus and Ukraine as well as Turkey, and boasts Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC), Vodafone Turkey , Avea İletişim Hizmetleri A.Ş. , UCell , Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) , Wataniya Telecom , Oman Mobile Telecommunications Co. LLC , and Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) among its carrier customers.

Its services include rollout management, radio/transmission network design, site acquisition, civil works, commissioning and integration, initial tuning, radio and transmission network optimization, and network maintenance.

The acquisition could cause problems for other equipment vendors that team up with IRIS in the region. NSN says that once the takeover is complete (expected to be the first quarter of 2011), it will honor all existing commitments made by IRIS Telecom, including those to other equipment vendors, but adds that "future multi-vendor services opportunities will be evaluated on a case by case basis in line with Nokia Siemens Networks’ strategy."

That's set to bring some localized operational issues for rival vendors, particularly Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which has a number of infrastructure deals in Turkey and which worked with IRIS extensively at Vodafone Turkey, but also Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) (See Huawei Wins in Turkey, Turkcell Doubles Up for 3G, Ericsson Lands HSPA Deal, ZTE Bags Uzbek 3G Deal, and ZTE Wins AVEA 3G Deal.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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