Nokia Corp. (NOK) and other telecom equipment makers have been struggling in recent months as they’ve experienced a steep decline in demand for network equipment. But for Nokia, which is making a big bet on markets outside of the traditional telecom space, it is the Internet of Things (IoT) market that will be its future driver of growth.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 18th Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said 5G will play a key role in the adoption of IoT—devices that connect to the internet and can communicate with each other—and that Nokia plans to be a leader there.
“With the [IoT], billions of devices are connected. Everybody, everything is connected. All of those is enabled by 5G because when 5G was conceived, the idea was to be able to have a technology that enables many, many things to be connected,” said Suri. “So I think 5G enables IoT. And IoT brings time back to people like us, consumers. We will get more time. We will get more productivity in our lives. But more importantly, there will be a lot of productivity coming to various kinds of companies in various sectors.” (Read more: Nokia Warning Catches Analysts Off Guard.)
Nokia’s 4G Market Shares Position It To Lead With 5G
The way Suri sees it, Nokia’s dominate position in 4G and its plans with 5G position the company to benefit from the growth of the IoT market. Suri argued Nokia is the leader in 4G around the world with more than 30% market share, which puts it in a good position to “lead the industry” when it comes to 5G.
“We supply to all the major operators in South Korea, and all three operators here in Japan and all the operators in the U.S. And I think the experience that we will get first from these markets will be instrumental to how 5G will develop all the time,” said Suri. “If you work in Japan, South Korea and the U.S., your product road map gets better around the world, because the most demanding use-case requirements are in those countries.”
As for mergers and acquisitions Suri said Nokia is focused on small-sized buys even while it integrated Alcatel-Lucent but that on a large scale Nokia isn’t gearing up for anything. “This industry is quite consolidated already. If you think about the industry, there used to be 10 players 10 years ago. Now there are three strong players. So I think the consolidation is done.”