Telecom Timeout

Aug 4 2009   3:07PM GMT

RIM’s Nortel interest adds more drama to ‘final’ bid

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Why on earth would RIM want Nortel? That was the question on everyone’s minds after the handset manufacturer announced it had not only tried to enter bidding for the distressed Nortel’s LTE and CDMA assets, but had been “prevented” from fairly competing for those assets due to bidding restrictions.

And while Ericsson eventually emerged victorious in bidding, industry watchers were left scratching their heads, and legislators seem to at least be considering the merits of RIM’s complaint. What if the Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker was successful in a re-auction and it won?

The company has given little indication of why they are so intent on the Nortel wireless assets, beyond the stated desire to keep Nortel Canadian, but RIM does have experience in building out some infrastructure in order to power its central NOC. Perhaps the company has seen infrastructure as a critical competitive asset, and one that will further separate it from the pack just as its e-mail advantage has in the past. Another theory is that RIM is trying to jump on the LTE bandwagon early, and it sees the Nortel opportunity as the perfect way to jump past its competitors in this area.

Whatever the motivation, with Canadian national pride and billions of dollars in local jobs at stake, the supposedly final Ericsson purchase might not be so final after all.

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