Nokia wheels out a complete MVNO package. Makes a change from WinPho
Taking 'mobile operators are our customers' a bit too far?
Nokia has wheeled out a worldwide IoT network grid (WING) that sounds remarkably like an all-in-one mobile virtual network operators offering.
The WING will, according to a Nokia announcement, “manage the IoT connectivity and services needs of a client's assets – such as connected cars or connected freight containers – as they move around the globe, reducing the complexity for enterprises who would otherwise be required to work with multiple technology providers.”
It will “offer a full service model including provisioning, operations, security, billing and dedicated enterprise customer services from key operations command centers,” and also comes with a proprietary device management platform.
In other words, Nokia has launched an IoT MVNO.
This was also the view of Analysys Mason research director Tom Rebbeck, who told The Register: “It sounds like a global IoT MVNO – so an enterprise can buy global connectivity from one provider (ie, Nokia). This could be interesting for example to consumer electronics companies that want to sell a connected device in lots of countries but just have a single contract for connectivity. To support that, Nokia will need lots of connectivity contracts with local MNOs.”
Mason also pointed out that mobile operators themselves can also be WING customers – which raises the whimsical notion of an MNO being invited to pay a third party in return for letting them use its own infrastructure.
“Potentially, this will put Nokia in competition with some of its customers,” continued Rebbeck, in non-whimsical mode. “It is another example of the blurring between telecoms operators and their vendors. Another example is Vodafone, which is selling its GDSP technology to other operators, like SFR, Maxis and Zain.”
The move is part of Nokia’s efforts to reduce its dependence on telecoms operators as their clients. Following the flog-off of its consumer handset business in 2014, Nokia concentrated on selling network equipment. Last August it was in talks with BT over 5G radio gear.
Igor Leprince, Nokia’s head of global services, said in a canned quote: “IoT connectivity as a managed service is an answer for enterprises to the current IoT deployments that are hampered by the patchwork of business agreements to connect devices around the world.”
This is likely to be a drop in the ocean against whichever flavor of NB‑IoT wins that localized standardization bunfight, as well as the wider overlaps between the various LPWAN standards, including frontrunners LoRa and SigFox, both of which enjoy significant customer adoption. ®