Nokia is said to be considering joining forces with French firm Alcatel-Lucent as it looks to plot its future beyond the sale of its handset business to Microsoft.
Reuters reports insiders “close to the matter” say Nokia is weighing up the possibility of buying Alcatel's wireless business to expand the reach of its own Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) going forward.
Informal talks between the two firms have taken place in the past, but Nokia is reportedly discussing internally whether to make a formal move once it receives the proceeds of the €5.44bn sale of its handset division to Microsoft.
Microsoft has agreed to take over Nokia's complete phone business and licence its patents for 10 years, which will leave NSN responsible for 90% of Nokia's earnings.
Alcatel's wireless infrastructure business has a strong presence in the US, a market where the otherwise thriving NSN has struggled to make an impact.
The sources stress that no formal discussions have taken place as yet, with Nokia said to be in a “period of reflection trying to figure out what they want to do”. A potential move could see Nokia buying the entire Alcatel-Lucent business, or just its wireless division, with a final decision likely still months away, the sources say.
Buying Alcatel's wireless business, which is valued at between €1.1bn and €1.5bn, would boost NSN's share of the global wireless infrastructure market from 18% to 30%, jumping past Huawei into second place behind market leader Ericsson.