Nokia CEO: Very little 'angst and in-fighting' in Alcatel-Lucent merger process

BARCELONA, Spain -- Nokia's CEO said that, just a few weeks after his company closed its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, the combined entity is moving "fast and effectively" to deal with its customers and the wider market as a merged entity under the Nokia brand. Indeed, he said the company is demonstrating all of its products and services here at the Mobile World Congress under the Nokia brand.

"I have seen almost none of the organization angst and in-fighting that have dragged down earlier transactions," Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri said during a press event here. He added that "synergies (are) happening faster than expected" and that almost 10,000 new leaders and managers now have clarity about their roles and the new company's model.

Interestingly, Suri also detailed exactly which products the newly combined company is moving forward with:

  • In 4G, Nokia will continue selling its existing products from the Nokia side of the business.
  • In small cells, Suri said that Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have a "remarkably complementary portfolio," and that going forward the company will sell Nokia's indoor and outdoor products and Alcatel-Lucent's products for residential and enterprise femtocells.
  • In IMS, Suri said the company will sell existing Nokia products for new deployments, and that it will sell a telephony application server that will be a converged product.
  • And for video and content delivery, Nokia will sell Alcatel-Lucent's existing products.

"We're certainly entering Mobile World Congress with a lot of momentum," Suri said.

Also during his presentation, Suri announced Nokia's new base station, the AirScale Radio Access, which he described as "5G ready." He said that means the product can be upgraded to whatever the industry's 5G standard ends up being via software and radio-equipment upgrades.

Nokia said its AirScale supports 2G, 3G, TDD-LTE, FDD-LTE, LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro as well as carrier-grade Wi-Fi and cloud RAN technology.

"By showing real systems, not just concepts, Nokia is clearly at the forefront with its AirScale platform," said Park Jin-hyo, SK Telecom's SVP and head of its network technology R&D center. In a joint 5G trial, SKT and Nokia achieved 19.1 Gbps transmission speed over the air.

In other Nokia news, Suri said that there "is no specific timeline" for when Nokia might license out its brand to a handset maker -- that's a slight deviation from his previous statements that Nokia would implement that strategy this year. "We don't need to be in a rush," Suri said.

Suri explained that Nokia will license its brand to a handset maker because he said that the "Nokia brand has great retention." He added that it would be a standard licensing agreement where the handset maker would pay Nokia for use of the brand, though he cautioned the company would retain some control over the design and rollout of the device since it carries the Nokia brand.

Separately, Nokia also announced it acquired Nakina Systems, a Canadian software company specializing in security and orchestration software for virtual and hybrid networks. Nokia also said its venture capital arm, Nokia Growth Partners, will launch a $350 million fund for investments in IoT companies.

For more:
- see these two Nokia announcements

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