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MWC: NSN claims fastest LTE platform in industry

Citing tests of live networks in Sweden, CEO Suri says NSN's technology beats out Ericsson's

BARCELONA -- Puffing out his chest at Mobile World Congress, Nokia Siemens Networks (NYSE:NOK, NYSE:SI) CEO Rajeev Suri declared that NSN’s initial years of fumbling in the market were behind it as the operator has managed to streamline operations, increase its mobile broadband market share and innovate in its product portfolio to the point that its long-term evolution (LTE) solution beats all other vendors in the market.

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“A year ago, we were talking about a recession and tough times for NSN.” Suri said at a media and analyst briefing at MWC. “Now, a year later, we’re outgrowing the industry.”

Suri said in the last year, NSN has one three times more high-speed packet access (HSPA) contracts than any other vendor, giving it 193 3G customers total. And while it NSN initially stumbled in the LTE radio market, it has since regained its footing, raking in 31 deployment deals, including NTT DoCoMo’s (NYSE:DCM) Japan-wide rollout, largely on the strength of its LTE technology, Suri said. While it is often difficult to achieve huge technical advantages over the competition when working within the confines of a standard, Suri said NSN has done just that, creating the fastest LTE kit in the business.

He cited a Signals Research Group study comparing speeds over TeliaSonera’s LTE networks in Stockholm, which was built by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), to its NSN-built network in Gothenberg. The study found that the NSN network delivered average data rates between 46% and 49% higher than Ericsson’s network and offered up lower latency than its competitor’s.

“Two years ago, we looked at LTE with concern based on the legitimate view that we were behind,” Suri said. “Today we have the best performing technology in the industry.”

Suri said NSN is now focusing its efforts on three key regions: Japan, South Korea and the U.S. While it has won major LTE deals with SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) and NTT DoCoMo, the largest wireless operators in their respective countries, NSN hasn’t seen similar success in the U.S. Both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) and AT&T (NYSE:T) passed up NSN for their lucrative LTE radio contracts, but it did emerge with a potentially huge contract with new provider LightSquared. It also won part of VZW’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) deployment, which is handling the Voice-over-LTE calls Verizon is demoing at the Congress.

NSN’s saw a big uptick in revenue and earnings in the 4th quarter driven by its recent successes in the infrastructure and managed services market, but North America continued to be exception to the rule, seeing revenues decline. LightSquared’s deployment, however, won’t get in high-gear until next year, assuming it gets fully funded, at which points NSN’s North American revenue picture could take a dramatic turn. NSN also hopes to close its acquisition of Motorola’s network assets this quarter, which increase its U.S. presence substantially.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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