Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri is optimistic about the future of the former market leader. In an interview with FierceWireless, Suri explained that as a company boss, Suri considers himself to be very customer orientated. He spends much of his time traveling between customers. Because he meets so many customers, he has his finger on the pulse of today's telecommunications industry. As a business, he considers Nokia to be data-based and of course he has access to this. However, with thirty years of experience he also relies on his gut instinct. In Suri's own words: "...that gut feel helps a lot. I’ve seen this before, I know what it’s going to be like. So I tend to be able to be good with predictions." This gut instinct has helped the business anticipate key technological advances. For the networking equipment market, this acumen has allowed the business to be able to offer the right product to the market at the right time, such as investing into small cells and higher performance LTE towers.
Suri also believes Nokia is the only company with global exposure to both the networking and device technology aspects of the industry, which he believes gives it a sense of perspective that other companies are missing. The business is currently in the process of licensing the Nokia brand to a smartphone manufacturer and has a successful networking business. Huawei may beg to differ with Suri's perspective, but he believes that the Chinese networking-and-device business lacks the critical exposure to the North American market. Another networking competitor, Ericsson, no longer has a handset business after selling its stage in the Sony Ericsson joint venture a number of years back. Nokia, however, have not produced a Nokia-branded device since the end of 2014.
2017 is likely to be a very interesting year for Nokia. The company's networking business is struggling at the moment because carriers around the world are investing less into their networks. The company also completed the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent back in January 2016 and there are costs associated with this deal still to be worked through. And yes, Nokia-branded devices are still expected to appear in the next few months but whilst these may capture a great deal of the consumer mindshare, it is unclear how much of an impact they will make to Nokia's operating revenue and profits.