Verizon and Nokia snuggle up in private 5G
Weeks after it had apparently spurned Nokia, handing a $6.6 billion 5G contract to South Korea’s Samsung, US telco giant Verizon is back in the arms of its Finnish supplier.
The two firms have buddied up once again to provide 5G network services to companies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, where Verizon lacks its own mobile infrastructure. Nokia would probably have preferred a multi-billion-dollar role in the construction of Verizon’s 5G network in the US. But at least it now has a telco partner for its private wireless push.
That has been one of the fastest-growing parts of Nokia’s business this year, with second-quarter revenues at the overarching Enterprise unit up 18%, to €376 million ($445 million), compared with the year-earlier period. In the private wireless segment, Nokia sells products and expertise to organizations that want a local network, separate from an operator’s public systems. Interest levels are high.
Nokia has long insisted that it prefers to work alongside or through a telco partner when catering to business customers. Doing so would address the concern about competing against telco clients for enterprise work. For precisely that reason, Ericsson, Nokia’s main non-Chinese rival, has said it will approach customers in this market only through service provider channels.
With Verizon, Nokia gains a telco partner with one of the largest enterprise divisions in the world. Last year, Verizon Business made about $31.4 billion in sales, roughly 24% of the company’s total, and many of its customers have a worldwide presence. “Sixty percent of our customer base has global operations,” said Sowmyanarayan Sampath, the president of the global enterprise unit within Verizon Business. “Our thesis is to support enterprises where they need it.”
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