Last week, at Nokia’s analyst meeting in Helsinki, it discussed its achievements and its challenges. The company’s successes include its traction and product introductions on the enterprise market, its market traction in selling Nokia’s end-to-end portfolio, and its 5G market momentum. Management reiterated that Nokia has signed 50 5G deals and its products are involved in 16 live 5G network. The company addresses some of its challenges, as well, including its delays in Systems on Chip (SoC) development progress, its diminished operating margins, competitive challenges in China, and an acknowledgement of increased price competition in the 5G era. We focus our writeup on two main topics: Enterprise and semiconductors.
Enterprise. The company leads with private LTE in selling to mostly outdoor environments where mobility needs are key. Nokia calls these networks “private wireless.” Generally, the target companies are those that are asset-intensive businesses, and Nokia has no current plans to go down-market. Nokia has sold to 120 enterprise customers as of September 2019, up from 80 as of June 2019.
- 24 transportation
- 35 energy
- 32 public sector
- 11 manufacturing
- 18+ other industry
The company announced products specialized for the enterprise market including:
- Packet core for optimized for enterprise
- World 1st MulteFire modem (CPE) + LTE unlicensed (USB dongle and US).
- Industrial terminal portfolio
- New small form-factor ruggedized field IP-MPLS over LTE routers. 7705 SAR-Hmc
Nokia sees worldwide support for private LTE, including:
- Vertical spectrum band support.
- B43. Germany
- B28/38. France
- B31/72. 450 MHz global
- B53. Globalstar footprint.
- CBRS. 12/19 launch.
- Japan, Germany, UK will have private spectrum available.
Semiconductors. The company discussed semiconductors at great length at the meeting. Here is a summary of the main chips that were discussed.
- PSE-3 shipped for trials. Optical not meeting our margins targets, an issue of scale
- FP-4 has been shipping for a year and is experiencing widespread adoption.
- Quillion GPON chip launched a month ago. It is intended for 5G backhaul.
- Reefshark RF and baseband SoC. The set of chips generally known as Reefshark were a big focus at the conference, following announcements made at the company’s 3Q19 earnings call. The CEO said Nokia’s SoC push could have started earlier and it also said that one chip supplier “dropped the ball” on SoC. Similar to what was disclosed on the 3Q19 call, the company is increasing its investments in SoC’s to reduce Nokia’s dependence on FPGAs in 5G baseband and RF. Two main transitions are underway in the FPGA to SoC journey:
- 5G Massive MIMO RF SoC should roll out during 2020. These SoCs are already in volume product today and by the end of 2019, radio units using these SoCs will be shipping in significant volumes.
- 5G baseband SoC available April 2020.