The Six Five In the Booth with Nokia at Mobile World Congress 2023
On this episode of The Six Five – In the Booth, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Shaun McCarthy, President of North America Sales, and Ricky Corker, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Nokia.
Their discussion covers:
- Nokia’s refreshed tech, corporate strategies, and rebrand
- Their customers’ impressions
- What moves Nokia is making in the enterprise
- The kinds of exciting opportunities the metaverse creates for Nokia and its customers
- What’s in store for Team Nokia
It’s a great conversation, and one you won’t want to miss.
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Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorhead and the Six Five is live here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress in the Nokia booth. And it is a beauty. It is so awesome this year at Mobile World Congress 23. Doesn’t it seem just more lively than last year, Dan?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s been really great to be back and feel like it’s back.
Patrick Moorhead: Yes.
Daniel Newman: The whole show is back. It just feels so normal. And yeah, we’re here in a really green room with some new branding. We’re going to talk about that more.
Patrick Moorhead: That’s right.
Daniel Newman: Pat, we’re excited to have a returning alumni in a new role.
Patrick Moorhead: That’s right.
Daniel Newman: As well as a new guest on the Six Five.
Patrick Moorhead: That’s right. So Ricky and Shaun, welcome to the show. Great to see you.
Ricky Corker: Yeah, great to meet you.
Patrick Moorhead: Gosh, it’s been a wild two days here. I was part of the big event yesterday. It’s been a lot of fun. So I appreciate you inviting us in.
Ricky Corker: Great to have you here.
Daniel Newman: Good picture, with you yesterday, too.
Patrick Moorhead: Oh, I jumped right up there to get that picture of him with a new brand, new T-shirt. Kind of rolling out vision objective strategies, all the product stuff.
Daniel Newman: Don’t ask my question.
Patrick Moorhead: Okay. I’m sorry. All right.
Daniel Newman: No worries.
Patrick Moorhead: We’ll get right in there, Dan. Do it.
Daniel Newman: Let’s do this. So Ricky and Shaun, it is good to have you here and I’ll let Ricky kind of take the lead on this one, but you made some big announcements. We had the chance to be there ahead of the preview, but what is the big focus here at MWC 23 for Nokia?
Ricky Corker: Well, of course great to be back at MWC and back at a hundred percent. So last year was fun, but now it’s even bigger this year. Big focus of course, is the refresher of the corporate strategy, which we shared yesterday. But as part of that, is the new brand. And I think about this, we’re 150 year old company. We’re known for innovating and changing over those years. But of course, we’ve also been in the telco space now for several decades. But this is really about repositioning Nokia for what we are today and what we want to be in the future, which really is a B2B technology innovation leader.
So I think that’s going to be a great opportunity for us to talk to our existing customers about where we’re transitioning to. But probably even more importantly, it’s about some of our new customers, the enterprise customers, for example, the hyperscalers, around perhaps reevaluating who Nokia is, who they think we are, and repositioning ourselves as that technology leader that they want to work with as we go forward. So pretty cool. Great feedback, great energy. I don’t know what it is, but I actually feel younger with this brand. It’s taken at least 10 years off my life, I think.
Patrick Moorhead: No, I love it. And I used to run corporate strategy for a big tech company once, so I absolutely appreciated the structure of your vision, your objectives, and your strategies to get there, which was super exciting. Now, I’m sure, right, you’re probably going to spend at least a week here and you’re not spending most of your time with analysts or pundits like us. You’re spending it with customers. What are your customers talking to you about? And like you said, it’s carriers and its enterprises.
Ricky Corker: Yeah, I mean, look, I think the first thing, which was really great, because it has been a while since we’ve had a full World Congress, the conversation has changed so much. The first thing our customers talk about, it’s great to see Nokia back as a technology leader, and we’ve talked about this for two or three years, but I really think we come back to this World Congress in a position of strength in terms of the technology leadership and portfolio. So that’s a great starting point. So it’s nice to have those conversations, which means we can actually then talk about what’s happening next.
And of course our customers all have similar challenges. How do I create new revenue streams? Where’s that new revenue going to come from? And of course, increasingly, how do I manage my cost structure? And of course, we’re in a great position and that actually creates opportunities for us. I think on the revenue side, the move into the enterprise for us, as we talked about, has been really important. We want to work with our CSP partners to do that. We also work with our enterprise partners to do that. 5G is rolling out all over the place. Still early days. I think this is a conversation we have a lot with our customers is, 5G is not over. In some places people seem to think we’ve built up, what’s next?
Patrick Moorhead: We’re done.
Ricky Corker: 6G is… It’s 2030, right. So we’ve got a long, long runway left in 5G. So it’s great to talk about that. Use cases, how we can leverage that. I mean, 5G, every day there’s a new use case. I mean, just recently we did a project with forest fires in the US, being able to detect that when the cable falls and do preventative issues. We’re doing stuff, great stuff, on digital divides around the world, creating opportunities for people to connect using connect technology with our customers. So the conversations, I think, are varied, but it’s exciting. Lots to talk about.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. It’s so important that you call that out too, Ricky, because I think even yesterday at the event, someone asked a question and kind of indicated one of the press made a comment that we’re at the tail end of 5G. And I mean the response is like, whoa, slow down. Yeah, we’ve got some space left for this to grow. And in fact, I would say we’re still in that earlier phase of really fully monetizing and realizing the potential of it. By the way, 150 year old company, Pat-
Patrick Moorhead: I barely even believe it.
Daniel Newman: It blows my mind up. It’s almost as old as you. So Shaun, you came over to really help lead enterprise and then sales to the enterprise. Talk a little bit about what’s going on there. I think everyone understands the traditional relationships that Nokia has in the carrier and operator space, but enterprise, a little bit newer.
Shaun McCarthy: Yeah. No, listen, and I lead up North America and we have a great CSP business as well. And to your point about it’s early days for 5G. I mean, people sometimes think of 5G as a one and done, but there’s releases to 5G and we’re just getting into 5G advantages, where you’re going to see really the exciting use cases come to life. But you’re right, we’re looking at how do we expand our business? And one of the areas we see just a tremendous amount of growth, is the enterprise space. And this big brand refresh is because a lot of folks don’t think of us as an enterprise company, but we have over 2,700 customers in the enterprise today. We’ve got well over 500 private cellular networks deployed with them. We grew that business 49% year over year in Q4.
So it’s all about… I always say it’s not about 5G, it’s about the outcomes that we can deliver with 5G. And we’ve just got a tremendous amount of use cases we’re deploying. We’ve had a lot of success historically in the private cellular days, into the 4G days, in the mining industry. We’re expanding upon those. So that’s about worker safety, that’s about productivity. Rick talked about the use case where we have a large electric provider in the US that put these sensors on their cables and it’s about preventing forest fires. They don’t care… They care about outcomes.
Ricky Corker: That’s right.
Shaun McCarthy: We’re spending a lot of time with our customers on those. It’s really early days in that space and we just see tremendous pathway to success there.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I’d say we’re about halfway into 5G. I mean, we really haven’t even lit up the massive MIMO, millions and millions of devices. Even the backend is not fully done in the core to get the full speeds going. So you’re here with your global counterparts, Shaun, and I’m curious, are there any nuances that you’ve picked up in differences in the US market versus maybe some of the other regions that you’re here with?
Shaun McCarthy: Yeah, I mean, listen, I think every market has its own sort of time horizon in terms of those build cycles. And there are parts of the world where spectrum hasn’t even been released from 5G.
Patrick Moorhead: I admit, I take that for granted. It came up yesterday and the response-
Ricky Corker: Vietnam’s a great example, right?
Patrick Moorhead: Right.
Ricky Corker: Huge country, still don’t have 5G.
Patrick Moorhead: Right.
Ricky Corker: Yeah. So yeah, I mean, it’s different phases of that transition that are happening today, but we’re seeing growth across the board. It’s been a great run for the company. I’ve just, with a partner meeting where we’re going to launch with NTT and we’re going to launch a private 5G campaign together starting with the APJ market, right? We’ve had really great success in North America with Kyndryl, where we started a partnership that we publicly announced about a year ago. Within a year we’ve got a hundred active engagements with customers. And this is complex technology. It’s about pulling the ecosystem of things together to drive those outcomes. It’s not just about the network. We’re talking about… I was just thinking through my career, we used to… It was this big debate about the dumb pipe. Is it a dumb pipe? We don’t want to be a dumb pipe. Well, it’s not a dumb pipe, right? It’s a network that senses, a network that thinks, and a network that acts, right? That’s very different than a dumb pipe. So this tremendous traction and everyone’s excited about this across the globe.
Patrick Moorhead: Well, the industry’s come a long way. I mean, I remember we were talking M to M probably 15 years ago, and then lack of endpoint security, lack of standards, and they were all truck rolls. And then everybody thought, okay, industrial IoT, great. The world’s going to be so different, right? Okay. We all agreed on security at the endpoint had standards, but people aren’t… I think you had mentioned this. Boards aren’t asking for, “Hey, I want an IoT project.” No, it’s about outcomes, right? Whether it’s in the factory, whether it’s in logistics, whether it’s in the forest, they want answers. So I really think we are literally just hitting the first stage of this. Your deal with Kyndryl and as a partnership, to me, I mean, that’s where a lot of the rubber meets the road because there’s so many pieces happening at the same time. Software platforms, full roles of operations that they’re there to help.
Ricky Corker: So yeah, I think what we’ve found is, we’ve been doing enterprise for quite some time. I think people kind of think this is a new business for us. Actually, we’ve been doing enterprise for a lot of years. And one of the key things we’ve found, is you have to know those industries. You have to know the language of those industries and how the IoT systems work in those industries. And it’s about pulling all that together, as Shaun said, to get those outcomes right. So it’s a very different conversation with an enterprise from a cell process than it has perhaps for a traditional CSP.
Patrick Moorhead: For sure.
Daniel Newman: So give us a taste outside of the brand launch, Ricky. What were some of the big exciting announcements that were made from a technology standpoint?
Ricky Corker: Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a great stand here. We’ve got a whole lot of new tech. Let me start with our mobile networks group, our radio division. We’ve launched our latest massive MIMO technology. And this is great because this is built on system-on-chip technology, and that’s where we were falling short years gone by. We’ve really ramped this up now, our own system, developed system-on-chip development, that now allows us to build the smallest, lightest and most energy efficient, massive MIMO radios out there in the market. So that’s really exciting.
I think the other one that’s interesting on the radio side, is our anyRAN story. As we know, cloud is everywhere. Radio access is going to the cloud. And so now we’ve developed our NIC technology, which allows us to put that in anybody’s cloud, whether it’s a Dell, HP, hyperscalers, et cetera. So it shows that I think this any cloud, anyRAN concepts is certainly gaining momentum. And we also had a great announcement today, which just came on the wire. You might have seen as a little win against one of our big competitors down in South Africa with MTN. So it’s always nice to validate the technology with actually winning net new business, which is important for us.
Daniel Newman: We hit anyRAN pretty hard this morning. We did REON on with Marvell, so we had a little preview of it just this morning.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, great announcement on the mobile side. But you did more than mobile, didn’t you?
Ricky Corker: Yeah. Well, we were talking about cloud, right? And I think our cloud network services division’s got a couple of big announcements. I think we just announced that for the first time in the world, we’re now offering 5G Standalone Core as a service. No, that’s pretty cool. That’s new for us. Yeah, and great stuff around analytics. I talked about conversations we have with customers. Managing operations or managing costs is really important. Having those analytics built into the network’s extremely important. And we are really helping operators identify those insights in the network and taking actions to improve their cost structure. And then of course our network infrastructure division. Big announcement there, PSE-6. So we’ve moved from 5 to 6, maybe not such a big deal perhaps, but this is the world’s fastest, coherent photonic solution out there in the world. It’s an amazing piece of technology. Again, Nokia developed system-on-chip technology. So it’s really cool stuff. Great for your optics business.
Patrick Moorhead: Any cloud, anywhere. I mean, the hybrid multi-cloud is huge. And being that fabric that no matter where they need that capability, I think really is going to help determine the new winners in this new age. Because customers really don’t care where it’s at. They just want it to work and be reliable. In some instances it’s in the sovereign cloud, other times it’s in a public cloud. Other times it’s in a private cloud. They just want it to work.
Ricky Corker: Yeah. I think it’s interesting. We peck and talked yesterday about this concept of networks meeting the cloud. And you think about it, what customers really want is super high reliable tech, that works. It’s the five nines world that we all come from in the telecom world. But you marry that with the cloud around scalability, consumability, and it’s those two things coming together, that’s really going to drive the industry forward, I think.
Patrick Moorhead: So yesterday you gave respect to the past, talked about what you’re doing today, but also you gave some glimmerances into the future. And I’m curious, Shaun, what is it about the future that you’re most excited about or you’re excited about putting effort into right now?
Shaun McCarthy: Yeah, I mean, one of the things we’re really excited about is the metaverse, right? And we believe that it’s not metaverse, it’s metaverses. And there’s really going to be three metaverses. Most people talk about the consumer metaverse, right? And yesterday we talked about doing kickboxing with goggles on and sure, that’s real, that’s cool. That’s going to happen. But we’re really excited about, there’s going to be an enterprise metaverse that’s going to be more around collaboration and augmented workforce. And then what we think is really where the opportunity is, is the industrial metaphor. That’s like creating these digital twins. And it’s going to really… It’s going to completely transform operations. The opportunity is huge. It’s viewed to be somewhere between 8 and 13 trillion, trillion with a T, dollars, by 2030, which is around the corner, by the way.
And just think of the traffic that’s going to be coming out of that industrial metaverse. By 2027, the traffic is projected to exceed the traffic that we have on our phones today with video. Video dominates the traffic today on handsets. It’s going to get surpassed in just a few years by the traffic from these industrial metaverses. And we feel we are just really well positioned in many different areas to go after that market. And everything from, obviously the networking that’s obvious, but some of our software assets, some of our tooling, we play a role on the device side, whether it’s even through licensing our technology or building our own technology. So we’re really excited about that opportunity and we think it’s like we’re the most positioned company to really take advantage of that opportunity.
Daniel Newman: Nice. Intelligent devices, sensing things. I mean, things will create this. And then of course, just the ability to advance industries, how much faster we can advance healthcare, how much more efficiently we can design and engineer, we can drive sustainability. All the things that people are trying to accomplish. Being able to test it in sort of a simultaneous autonomous data replicated universe. Wow, say that three times quickly.
Shaun McCarthy: Wow, that was impressive.
Daniel Newman: Is going to be foundational, though, to moving industries faster and forward. Yeah, absolutely. See, he’s completing my sentences already.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, no, it is good. It’s a good alignment. It’s a good sign. So gentlemen, we’re at a wrap here. Just want to thank you so much for being on the show. It’s really nice to meet you for the first time. Shaun, great to see you again. Congratulations on the new role. It’s a new company and gradually some new brand. I mean, most important thing is we all know about a brand, is living the brand and actually doing the things that make it. I think the good news, what I see from Nokia, is that you’re living a lot of that brand promise, which is the hardest part about a brand refresh. Logos are one thing. It’s doing what you need to do to keep your customers super happy and build new stuff in the future and project that to people who might think you’re a smartphone company still. So anyways, thanks for coming on the show.
Shaun McCarthy: Thanks for the time.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. Great to see you as always.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah.
Daniel Newman: All right everybody, you have it here. I want to thank you so much for joining us here at the Six Five in the Nokia booth at MWC 2023. Hit that subscribe button, join us for all of our shows here at the event, and also, of course, all the shows that we do everywhere else. Pat, I think we got a wrap here though, and say goodbye. So thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you all later.
Daniel Newman is the Chief Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio