Nokia Siemens Networks' $1.2-billion acquisition of Motorola's commercial wireless networks business — sans public safety and iDEN — left some analysts questioning Motorola's strength in the next-generation public-safety market, which will see future deployments of LTE networks in the 700 MHz band.

NSN has indicated that it will be working closely with Motorola in some type of partnership to seek out public-safety LTE contracts. Motorola will retain access to its commercial wireless intellectual property rights, and at least some personnel from the commercial networks division migrated to the public-safety side of the business earlier this year. But that leaves questions. Primarily, will the two companies be competing against each other for contracts? Will Motorola be able to effectively convert its existing public-safety clients to LTE through a partnership, as opposed to using in-house resources?

"Motorola was always in a strong position to deliver next-gen public safety networks thanks to its track record in the space, combined with its aggressive LTE R&D. The acquisition of Motorola's wireless infrastructure business by NSN complicates this somewhat," said Peter Jarich, senior analyst with Current Analysis. "On the one hand, it brings access to an LTE platform which should have more scale given NSN’s market position.

“On the other hand, it means that any LTE-based public-safety solution coming out of Motorola will no longer benefit from a purely 'made in America' label, and will depend on coordination between two different companies – companies who may not have the same research priorities, etc."

Similarly, Michael Thelander, president of Signals Research, predicted in a recent report that NSN would have a more difficult time converting Motorola's public-safety clients to LTE through a partnership vs. having the resources in-house.

"NSN did note that it will be working closely with Motorola in some form of a partnership to pursue LTE contracts with [public-safety] groups, but it isn't clear to us how this partnership will work and whether or not Motorola will have the proper incentives to help what is essentially a competitor win business from an existing customer."

It could very well be that Motorola will be the one participating in public-safety LTE contracts, since the LTE portion of them "is masked by other services and solutions that are also required by the public-safety organization," Thelander said.

But many vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, are eager to bring public-safety into the fold of LTE contracts. Consequently, NSN may not want to play a minor role in the market, especially as it looks to bolster its North American presence.

A Motorola representative said in a statement that the company is committed to providing best-in-class public-safety broadband LTE networks to the market, and that the NSN acquisition of Motorola Networks will not impact the delivery of Motorola’s EMS private broadband solution, which includes the core network, devices, software, services and applications, in addition to the radio access network.

“Motorola EMS is not dependent on any specific supplier in our LTE program,” the representative said. “Motorola Networks is one possible supplier of the radio access network component of LTE in our current design, which represents only one aspect of a very large portfolio of next-generation products and services ranging from collaborative devices to video surveillance.”

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