Nokia is creating a new Access Networks organization that will include its fixed and mobile network operations. The move is the latest Nokia corporate restructuring intended to better align its operations to win 5G contracts against rivals such as Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, and Samsung.
The new Access Networks organization will launch Jan. 1 and include Nokia’s current Mobile Networks and Fixed Networks Business Groups. Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said the move will improve the company’s “customer focus, simplify our management structure, and more efficiently leverage our full portfolio.”
The Mobile Networks group will also get a new leader as company veteran Tommi Uitto will immediately replace current group head Marc Rouanne. Uitto has been at Nokia for 23 years, with his most recent role as leading product sales for the Mobile Networks group.
The Fixed Networks Business Group will also receive new leadership at some point. Federico Guillén is currently head of that group but was recently named president of Customer Operations for Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia. He will assume that role on Jan. 1.
Both Uitto and the new head of the Fixed Networks Business Group will report into an also to-be-named president of the Access Networks group.
Rouanne’s departure is similar – though more immediate – to that of Nokia’s current Customer Operations leader Ashish Chowdhary who is set to leave at year-end. That shuffle was announced earlier this month as part of Nokia splitting up that group along a pair of geographical lines, with Guillén leading EMEA and Asia regions and Ricky Corker running the North America region.
Chowdhary looks set to land on his feet as published reports indicate he will lead Apple’s India operations.
During Nokia’s third quarter earnings call, executives told investors that while it has achieved early success in 5G by securing a number of operator deals, the company will still need to significantly reduce its operating expenses. Nokia plans to do this by adding more automation to its systems, simplifying some of its processes, and significantly reducing its support functions. It also will prioritize its research and development so it stops investing in legacy products.
Nokia has scored a number of 5G deals in recent months, with a strong showing in North America. Those deals have typically been part of three-way contracts with carriers shared with rivals Ericsson and Samsung.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE remain significant equipment suppliers outside of North America where the U.S. government has prevented domestic carriers from using equipment from those companies due to security concerns. Those concerns are also beginning to spill over into other countries that are looking to prevent the Chinese vendors from providing sensitive equipment to 5G networks. That could provide an opportunity for Nokia to garner deals in a less price-competitive environment.