Nokia Siemens to buy Nortel’s wireless division

Nokia Siemens Networks will acquire Nortel’s wireless technology assets in a $650 million deal, the networking giant revealed today.

The move will place Nokia Siemens, a joint venture between the two European telecommunications vendors focussed on networking technology, in the number two spot in the market for technology based on the CDMA standard, behind Alcatel-Lucent.

It also will bring with it Nortel’s so-called LTE (Long Term Evolution) assets, an emerging wireless networking standard.

Nokia Siemens is obviously hoping to be involved in the potentially lucrative upgrade work, however companies like Verizon, historically one of Nortel’s best customers, have already switched to competitor Alcatel-Lucent in the wake of Nortel’s financial difficulties.

Nortel, which is the principal sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, filed for creditor protection earlier this year amid massive worldwide layoffs. The company insists it will remain viable after emerging from a heavy restructuring process, but runs the risk of having its most profitable segments bought by competitors before it can recover.

Israeli firm Radware bought Nortel’s application delivery business in February, while unified communications (UC) vendor Avaya (along with Nokia Siemens) was rumoured to be eyeing Nortel’s enterprise communications division. Avaya has since run an aggressive campaign encouraging Nortel’s pertners to jump ship, with offers of discounts and free training on Avaya’s products.

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