Poised for progress

As of April 1, 2007 Nokia Siemens Networks came into being with the view to establishing a strengthened position in the global telecoms infrastructure market. Walid Moneimne, the chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks in the Middle East and Africa tells CommsMEA of the impact the new company is likely to have in this region.

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By  Administrator Published  June 4, 2007

Walid Moneimne is an executive who believes in heritage, and thinks that the experience and history of the two parents of Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the new company's greatest strengths. "Siemens is a company with a 160-year history and Nokia is 140 years old, and while the companies have not been involved in telecoms for all those years, it does go to show the culture and heritage that exists in both of them," says Moneimne, Nokia Siemens Networks chairman for Middle East and Africa.

By all measures, the merger of the telecoms equipment business of Nokia and Siemens was a significant development, bringing together 60,000 employees worldwide, and 4,000 employees across 44 countries in the Middle East and Africa. Of the 4,000 employees in the region, 3,000 are charged with services functions, emphasising the new company's strong focus on building strong relationships with operators beyond the offer of just equipment.

Siemens is a company with a 160-year history and Nokia is 140 years old, and while the companies have not been involved in telecoms for all those years, it does go to show the culture and heritage that exists in both of them.

"This is a strong marriage of strong entities. Siemens was second in infrastructure worldwide and third in mobile infrastructure, while Nokia was second in mobile infrastructure, making a very strong combined unit," Moneimne explains. The strong growth prospects in his geographic area of responsibility makes Moneimne mindful of the task that lies ahead in terms of fully integrating the business as well as driving efficiencies.

Nokia forecasts that by 2015 there will be 5 billion people connected all the time in the world, be it via mobile, broadband, fixed line, DSL, or any other form of access technology. The number of connections at that time will reflect a doubling of the number of connections from the number today, with the overwhelming majority of these additions coming from developing markets.

The MEA is a region of 1.3 billion inhabitants, 275 million of whom are currently mobile subscribers. This represents a mobile penetration rate of just over 20%, with Nokia forecasting this number of users will rise to 600 million by 2010. "MEA represents the least penetrated and fastest growing market in the world," Moneimne asserts.

Fixed-mobile convergence is a recurring theme in the industry and Nokia Siemens Networks is looking to offer appealing solutions in this domain. On a global basis, the company has seen the establishment of six core units comprising Radio Access; Service Core and Applications; Operation Support Systems; Broadband Access; IP/Transport; and Services. It expects to enjoy cost synergies amounting to US$1.9 billion annually by 2010, deriving from consolidation, sourcing benefits, R&D development and the elimination of overlapping functions.

"Mergers are successful when they are accompanied with a good integration," Moneimne states, and he should know, given his role as an executive at Compaq, having previously led the pre-integration merger team for HP and Compaq in the EMEA. "We have a strong sense of value when it comes to customers. The company (Nokia Siemens Networks) only has around 600 customers worldwide, so we need to be able to build strong relationships with them," Moneimne explains.

Given the rapidly consolidating telecoms infrastructure market, Moneimne identifies Nokia Siemens Networks' compelling product line, strong technology roadmap, impressive service record and vision for the future as the company's points of differentiation. "We are an end-to-end solutions provider with a deep consumer understanding," Moneimne states.

Given the sheer breadth of operators conducting business in the region, ranging from those operating in highly penetrated markets and offering the most sophisticated network infrastructure, through to those markets offering very basic services; equipment suppliers in the MEA region are faced with the challenge of adequately servicing all market segments present. Nokia Siemens Networks already has customers that span all segments, and in order to continue achieving this undertaking successfully, relies on a strong pool of dedicated employees.

"The key to success is in deepening and strengthening our relationship with operators and establishing and representing ourselves as one organisation to the customer," Moneimne concludes.

The supplier recently convened a CTO European/African Telecoms Roundtable at which it discussed regulatory issue on the continent.

Nokia Siemens’ Networks’ focus areas

• Business transformation and helping customers find and capture opportunities in the fast-changing market.

• Supporting customers in developing new revenue streams by understanding market trends and bringing new, innovative services to market.

• Providing products, services and solutions that help reduce operating expenses and partnering with customers to improve operational efficiency.

• Meeting the unique needs of new growth markets by working with customers to provide affordable voice and data solutions for end-users.

• Utilising the deep understanding the company will have in all areas of IP-centric convergence to identify and support new business opportunities for communication providers.

• Working closely with customers on issues of environmental responsibility, including lowering power consumption and reducing the weight and size of products.

• Bringing a full end-to-end expertise to help customers maximise investments and provide seamless experiences for end users.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ Village Connection

In May, Nokia Siemens Networks introduced its new solution, Village Connection, for affordable rural connectivity and coverage in new growth markets. Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection offers an easy concept to build rural connectivity village- by-village, enabling an innovative franchise-based business model between an operator and local village entrepreneurs.

The Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection solution supports GSM based voice and SMS services, including roaming and connection to the outside world. A range of value-added services can be added, such as cost-effective internet services in villages via the internet protocol link.

"Our solution brings connectivity, access to mobile services and economic activity to villages, it enables operators to extend their network coverage cost-effectively in rural areas where rolling out and operating a traditional GSM network would be too cost-intensive," said Ari Lehtoranta, head of Radio Access Networks, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection comprises GSM access points located in villages and regional access centres.

A village would typically host one access point module comprising GSM radio, power and IT hardware and software components. The access point only requires simple installation and powering can be done, for instance, by solar energy. Each access point connects to standard GSM mobile devices and autonomously handles calls within a village through local switching. Access points are connected via IP links to a regional access centre. The access centre connects the villages to the main GSM core network and handles the calls between the villages.

The Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection allows for the transfer of responsibility for network and business functions to a local level, building cost-effective connectivity village by village.

It can employ local people to manage access within each village, or local entrepreneurs may licence the mobile access rights for their surrounding area. The solution will be available in 2008.

Nokia Siemens Networks is committed to enabling communications in communities across the world. Advanced communication technology can play a significant role in creating a sustainable future, maintain opportunities for economic welfare and growth and reduce adverse environmental impacts. Nokia Siemens Networks' environmentally sustainable business approach has a key role in its network products and solutions.

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