Rychlik appointed to head NSN Canada

A veteran of the telecommunications industry is now the face of Nokia Siemens Networks in Canada.

Joy Rychlik, who has worked for Telus Corp. and Toronto-based Globalive Communications before it got into wireless, has been named country director by the telecom network equipment maker.

Actually, she officially took over the post in February, but it was only publicly announced last month.

The slowness in the paper work isn’t a reflection of the pace of business at NSN Canada since deciding before the 2008 AWS/PCS spectrum auction to get serious here.

At the time NSN had a staff of about 20, but when Ottawa announced it wanted to expand the number of carriers here the company bulked up.

Since then it won a prized contract to be one of two suppliers to the new HSPA+ network for BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada and Telus Corp., plus the right to supply equipment for two new carriers, Quebec cableco Videotron and Toronto-based Wind Mobile, which continues to extend its network.

Today the division has 125 on staff to serve existing customers and prepare to get business from other new entrants.

Two more significant contracts will be up for grabs over the next 12 months. The biggest will be for Shaw Communications Inc., whose network will ultimately stretch across Western Canada, while Eastlink Communications’ Inc.’s network will span the Maritimes.

 It’s a good time to be an equipment supplier here, Rychlik agreed in an interview. “Canada is a huge growth opportunity for NSN.”

In addition to sculpting the division’s business strategy, Rychlik’s goals include increasing NSN’s visibility among industry analysts and in Canadian universities, where its engineers will come from. She also wants the company better known in Ottawa, where but Rychlik also thinks NSN can have an input on policy matters such as the current debate on forming a national digital strategy.

“It’s important we’re involved in those discussions to ensure we’re adding value and to help the industry move forward, she said.

And while the Canadian sales team reports to NSN’s North American chief Susan Spradley, Rychlik also thinks NSN needs to be better known deeper within the country’s carriers.

Carriers want more than hardware from an equipment supplier, Rychlik said. They also look for expertise in subscriber data management to help create strategies to improve profitability. NSN’s global reach with some 600 carrier customers is one of the company’s advantages, she said.

Headquartered in Finland, NSN is a joint venture created in 2006 between handset maker Nokia Corp. and the equipment division of Siemens AG.

A Newfoundlander who graduated with a business degree from Memorial University, Rychlik first plunged into the IT industry selling mainframe computers and applications related to mapping.

She then worked for Unitel Communications Inc. for 12 years, rising to managing its enterprise sales group before going to Telus Corp. as vice-president of marketing for its partners solutions group, the unit that sells connectivity to carriers.

From there she was lured to Anthony Lacavera’s Globalive Communications as vice-president of sales for the company’s business division. Lacavera recalls her as a “great executive … definitely a team player, consensus player, and I think she’ll fill this job very well.”

Mark VanderHeyden, who was NSN country director in 2007, hired Rychlik to head eastern Canadian sales. “I hired her because she has an amazing outgoing personality,” said VanderHeyden, now a telecom consultant. “She’s intelligent, highly capable, well connected and cares about customer needs. I thought she’d be a perfect fit to grow the business.”

The NSN team has got more than its fair share of business lately, says industry consultant Iain Grant, managing director of the SeaBoard Group, outmuscling Ericsson Canada and Alcatel-Lucent for half of the Bell-Telus multi-million dollar radio access deal. The other half is shared with another big winner of the country’s wireless expansion, China-based Huawei Technologies, a newcomer to North America.

Another China-based telecom network equipment maker company, ZTE Corp. scored win by becoming Public Mobile’s supplier.

Ericsson continues to be Rogers Communications Inc.’s main network supplier as its HSPA+ network expands, while Alcatel-Lucent is a co-supplier with NSN at Wind Mobile.

Two years ago, as a young company NSN had no visibility here, recalls Iain Grant. It scored a big win with the Bell/Telus deal because it “had an appetite to win.”

Now there are five wireless equipment makers looking for business. To get a piece of the Shaw and Eastlink contracts, Rychlik and NSN Canada will have to be very hungry.


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