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Nokia has relaunched one of its business units in an effort to hunt down lucrative US government contracts.
January 15, 2024
The aptly-named Nokia Federal Solutions (NFS) will rifle through the Finnish kit maker's portfolio, as well as the latest inventions coming out of Bell Labs, and serve up those most likely to appeal to government agencies.
These cover areas like IP routing, optical networking, microwave, 5G, private wireless and tactical private wireless.
Naturally, NFS will be staffed by a sales force that is in tune with the unique requirements of public sector customers – namely security, reliability, and quality of service (QoS).
Nokia Federal Solutions (NFS) is not much of a departure from its predecessor, Nokia Federal Services. By keeping the same acronym, they probably won't even have to print new business cards.
NFS is led by Mike Loomis, who was also in charge of the old NFS, so it's very much business as usual for him.
"With Nokia Federal Solutions, we are strengthening our commitment to support the US government by investing in a dedicated entity to provide the technology, expertise, and local presence needed to help US federal agencies achieve their mission goals. We are investing to become the US government's trusted partner for 5G mission-ready solutions," he said in a statement.
The branch of government that springs most readily to mind when it comes to the US is defence, what with the US being the world's largest military spender by at least one order of magnitude.
Nokia already offers various solutions targeted at the military, ranging from 5G, transport and data centre networks, cybersecurity, and R&D via Bell Labs.
It also recently augmented its defence portfolio with December's acquisition of Fenix Group.
Fenix specialises in battlefield comms, offering edge networking hardware that provides high-speed, low-latency connectivity to multiple users simultaneously.
Designed to operate in what Fenix calls 'austere' environments, it pitches it as enabling the 'battlefield of things', offering connectivity to drones, loitering munitions, and AR-controlled battlefield robots, among others.
Given the US' proclivity for spending lots of money on all things military, acquiring Fenix could prove to be a shrewd move by Nokia.
In March 2022, the US Department of Defence established a cross-functional team (CFT) tasked with accelerating the adoption of 5G technology. It is responsible for the DoD's policy, guidance, research and development, and acquisition related to 5G and next-gen wireless tech.
According to this C4ISRNET report, the DoD's 5G budget was $338 million in 2022, and it asked for another $250 million in 2023. Nokia would doubtless be keen on grabbing a slice of that.
However, it will do little to counter losing out to Ericsson for AT&T's $14 billion Open RAN rollout.
AT&T alone accounted for around 5-8% of Nokia's mobile network sales in the first nine months of 2023 – missing out on the Open RAN deal forced it to lower its guidance for the next 2-3 years.
This means Nokia is having to work overtime to make up for the shortfall, and that includes re-badging NFS.
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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