Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) has been the subject of intense media debate in recent weeks, with talk of a possible merger with Juniper Networks interspersed with speculation over the identity of the new CEO of parent company Nokia; NSN's own leader Rajeev Suri is one of the names in the frame to take over the helm once the Finnish vendor completes the sale of its handsets business to Microsoft.
At a press event in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress, the company made its intentions clear: that it has no intention of commenting on either of those rumours at present.
"We are not making any such announcements here in Barcelona," Nokia's interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa told a disappointed auditorium on Sunday.
Nokia sees opportunities for enhancing shareholder value following the sale of the mobile phones business, but as the transaction has not yet closed, it will not share them just yet, Siilasmaa said. The deal still requires some regulatory approvals, but Nokia is confident it will close this quarter as planned, he added.
Despite the vendor's determination not to give anything away about its future strategy, comments made by Suri suggest that a deal with Juniper is not out of the question.
"We have a partnership with Juniper and we will look at ways to expand that partnership," Suri said.
"I'm not opposed to M&A," he added. "We don't have to do a deal for the sake of a deal…but we'll look at opportunities."
However, the importance of partnering was a key theme in Suri's address, which perhaps suggests that any deal with Juniper might be more of a partnership than an acquisition.
"Our sector has lagged behind [the] IT [sector]," when it comes to partnerships, Suri said. NSN will look for partnerships "where we can be stronger together with another company."
Speaking of partnerships, NSN on Sunday announced that it has been selected by U.K. mobile operator EE for the next stage of its LTE network rollout. In a video message, EE CEO Olaf Swantee explained that the deal will enable the telco to extend LTE to "the next 25%" of the U.K. population, that is, users located in small towns and rural areas.
"We are delighted to work with NSN in the next stage of our 4G rollout," Swantee said.