Nokia Siemens Networks closes one business unit, sells another

Nokia Siemens will sell its Business Support Systems unit to Redknee, the second business unit it has sold this week

Nokia Siemens Networks is selling off its second business unit in less than a week, and has announced the closure of another, as it focuses on its more profitable mobile broadband networking activities.

Canadian company Redknee will pay up to ¬40 million (US$52 million) for Nokia Siemens' Business Support Systems (BSS) unit, and will also take on about 1,200 employees Nokia Siemens employees, the companies announced Wednesday. Redknee will pay ¬15 million in cash, plus a maximum of another ¬25 million over the next 12 to 36 months.

Nokia Siemens also announced the closure of its German field services subsidiary on Wednesday, resulting in the loss of 1,000 jobs.

Business support systems software includes activities such as real-time billing, one of the areas Redknee is focused on.

Nokia Siemens' decision to sell its BSS unit stands in stark contrast with what competing vendors in the mobile telecommunications sector are doing.

For example, last year Ericsson announced its acquisition of Telcordia Technologies in an effort to reinforce and expand the company's position in the BSS and operations support systems (OSS) sectors. The acquisition was closed in January.

Ericsson's reasoning is that operators need to find new ways to charge for their services, as revenue from voice and messaging is shrinking, and BSS and OSS software will help them do that.

But Nokia Siemens is sticking to its dieting plan.

"We identified over a year ago that BSS was not core to us wanting to be the world's mobile broadband specialist," said Ben Roome, head of media relations at Nokia Siemens.

On Monday, Nokia Siemens also announced the sale of its optical networking business unit to private investment firm Marlin Equity Partners.

Roome wasn't ready to say the BSS announcement means Nokia Siemens is done for the week.

Earlier this year the company closed the sale of its IPTV assets to Belgacom and Accenture; its microwave transport business to DragonWave, and the fixed line Broadband Access business unit and associated professional services and network management solutions, to Adtran.

Redknee said the acquisition of Nokia Siemens' BSS business is "a significant milestone", allowing it to add relationships with big operators, and increase its global footprint to span more than 90 countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Approximately 1,200 employees are expected to transfer to Redknee. They are mainly based in Berlin, Germany; Bangalore, India; and Wroclaw, Poland, according to Nokia Siemens.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the first half of next year.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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