Ericsson execs duck Nortel-Motorola questions

BARCELONA — While refusing to comment directly on rumours that Nortel and Motorola would merge their wireless infrastructure units, Ericsson Canada CEO and president Mark Henderson said in an interview at the Mobile World Congress here on Wednesday that it would be consistent with trends in the market toward consolidation.

Henderson pointed out that worldwide, Ericsson’s biggest competitors in the wireless infrastructure space are Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent – enitities that have already undergone mergers.

But while a Nortel-Motorola merger might make sense, it would appear to be the tail end of a trend. Henderson said he’s not sure how much more consolidation could take place in the space.

Dragan Nerandzic, chief technology officer of Ericsson Canada, implied that Ericsson wouldn’t go running after a merger partner.

“We are very happy with the economies of scale that we have,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Nortel and Motorola are in talks to find a way to cut costs in a network equipment market that is consolidating and facing stiff competition.

A combined wireless infrastructure unit would have sales around US$10 billion, the Journal reported. Talks between Motorola and Nortel have been going on for about a month, the news report said, and under one scenario, Nortel would own a majority of the joint venture.

Nortel Networks on Monday declined to comment, and a Motorola spokesperson was not available.

— With files from Grant Gross

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