Nokia CEO: ALU acquisition will make it 'very strong' in North America

Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) deal to acquire Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) will give it a stronger position in wireless but also make it "very strong" in North America, said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri during a fireside chat at the GSMA's Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

"When you look at the deal, you rarely get this much complementary synergy," he said, according to Mobile World Live.

He also said the Alcatel-Lucent deal will give Nokia fixed and IP router assets that it doesn't currently have and make it an end-to-end provider. Only about 29 percent of operators in the world today are pure-play, he said with a nod to the convergence going on in the sector.

In acquiring Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia will be getting the expertise of the iconic Bell Labs, which also has been working on 5G technologies. Analysts have speculated that the deal is driven in large part by the company's desire to become a 5G powerhouse.

Suri said the most significant impact of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the way it transforms vertical industries, with IoT eliminating many inefficiencies that exist across industries.

5G access will help people save time and make life more convenient, but on the industry side, "the impact will be more profound. Almost every industry will be technology driven."

By way of example, he said 1.3 million people are killed in auto accidents every year, and the move to autonomous cars will happen by 2025. "This will reduce some of those inefficiencies," he said.

Some of the key challenges in moving to IoT, or what Nokia refers to as the programmable world, will be network security, privacy and standardization as well as addressing silos that make it difficult to penetrate other industries.

The industry is not as focused on security as it should be, he warned. "It's not very expensive to find a loophole in the network and try to pass on mobile malware and target personal data."

When targeting verticals, Suri said the question will be how to work with the network guys, the operators and the vertical industries.

Also at MWC Shanghai, Nokia Networks launched its IoT connectivity solution for LTE core and radio networks, which it says makes existing LTE networks IoT ready. Operators can prepare their current networks for the business opportunities of the IoT era and related machine-to-machine (M2M) traffic.

For more:
- see this Mobile World Live video and article
- see this press release

Related articles:
Nokia plows ahead on efforts to create 'flexible' 5G standard
U.S. could still lead in 5G deployment if operators decide to invest, says Bell Labs research head
Alcatel-Lucent leads EC-funded industry research into sub-6 GHz 5G air interface
Nokia shares its rules for 5G deployment

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