Siemens to Accelerate Exit from NSN; "Liquid Applications" in NSN Base Stations

The Financial Times reports that Siemens will speed up efforts to exit or cut its 50 percent stake in NSN- its telecom
equipment joint venture with Finnish phone maker Nokia.  Siemens and Nokia will be free to take action regarding their stake in Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) in April when a six-year shareholder agreement expires, following which Siemens would look to cut its stake in the venture to below 20 percent, the FT said, citing a person close to Siemens.

Siemens, whose products include trains, medical scanners and wind turbines, has long made clear its desire to get out of the European telecoms sector which has been hit by price erosion and competition from Asian entrants such as Huawei.  Nokia and Siemens have been looking to exit the joint venture through a buy-out or public offering, and analysts expect a decision in the next few months.

NSN has shown signs of a turnaround in recent quarters, helped by a massive restructuring drive last year that cut around 20,500 out of 74,000 jobs. 

The FT said that “In a second step, NSN could take over Alcatel-Lucent, the struggling Franco-American telecoms equipment company, and then form two companies; one in mobile broadband and another in IP and optical networks.

“These private equity guys could pull that off. That would probably be a very rewarding outcome and real industrial logic,” the source said. 

Analysts have applied an enterprise value for NSN of up to €10bn but the person close to Siemens said the true number might only be only around half that amount.”

At Mobile World Congress, NSN announced plans to embed IBM WebSphere application servers into its base stations. The radio and services networks have always been separate, but NSN is making a case to merge them.

NSN unveiled a new mobile services architecture, called Liquid Applications, designed to push a host of applications – ranging from video to location-based services and mobile gaming – to the furthest edge of the cellular network.

Mobile applications and radio infrastructure have always been walled off from one another – applications just barrel ahead onto their radio on-ramps oblivious to the highway traffic conditions ahead. What NSN proposes to do with Liquid Apps is to make those disparate portions of the network work in unison.