Shanghai: Nokia’s telecoms gear venture Nokia Siemens Networks said on Thursday it was conducting trials on 30 commercial next generation LTE networks globally and was in talks with 15 top tier operators to build commercial networks.
“It’s unbelievable how the momentum is growing, this is what we are seeing with our customers,” Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia Siemens’ head of LTE product management, told Reuters in an interview at the sidelines of an industry conference in Shanghai.
“There are big customers which I hope to get very soon under contract,” Robrecht said, adding the firm has signed contracts to build 12 commercial LTE networks to date, most of them this year.
Nokia Siemens and industry leader Ericsson have increasingly come up against Chinese up-and-comers Huawei and ZTE in the global rush to build new long-term evolution (LTE) networks, also known as 4G.
Nokia Siemens and Ericsson beat out Huawei in January for contracts to build a key next-generation LTE network contract from European operator TeliaSonera. But last year they lost out to Huawei on another deal to build an LTE network for Nordic carrier Telinor.
TeliaSonera opened the first LTE network late last year in Sweden and Norway, but many other mobile operators have only slowly started to invest in the new technology, which promises to ease data overload in many networks.
Robrecht said the current push for LTE was primarily from North America and Europe and driven by data usage from USB sticks and dongles, with smartphone data usage expected to start driving the market in the second half of next year.
Nokia Siemens is also seeing a lot of interest in TD-LTE in Japan, India and Europe and expects the TD-LTE standard to be on par with the LTE standard. TD-LTE is a standard of LTE pushed by China’s flagship mobile firm China Mobile.
Nokia Siemens Networks, a 50-50 venture of Nokia and Siemens is aimming for an operating profit margin of up to 3 percent on revenue of between €3.1-3.4 billion ($3.88-$4.25 billion) in the current quarter, according to a newspaper.
The firm posted a surprise profit in the first quarter and repeated its forecast for no growth in the telecom equipment market this year.
The venture reported a January-March underlying operating profit of €15 million ($20.2 million), compared with a loss of 122 million a year ago.