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Motorola to Grow Carrier Services Business

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 3, 2010

Motorola General Manager Bruce Brda has big plans for the company’s networks mobility business, which specializes in next-generation wireless equipment and was recently spit off from a larger division.

The networks unit, which on Feb. 11 was combined with a unit that makes radios and computers for corporate and government customers, wants to boost revenue generated from services, such as helping carriers design and make more efficient use of their new wireless networks. Services already account for more than one-third of the division’s $4 billion in annual sales. “There’s room to grow it by a few percentage points,” Brda says. The division, which employs thousands of people, is “highly profitable,” he says. The unit’s financial performance and exact employee numbers have not yet been reported separately. Brda’s business specializes in gear for next-generation mobile networks, based on technologies such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax.

The idea is to offer a broader array of services for carriers that may use Motorola’s – or other vendors’ – equipment in more markets, particularly in the Americas. While he wouldn’t provide any hiring projections, Brda expects to grow his services staff in the coming months.

Striking additional partnerships is also on the agenda. The unit already buys certain gear from partners such as Cisco. “We will partner as a way to expand the reach of our products and to gain [research and development] efficiency,” Brda says. “I believe we have all of the components carriers need in the next couple of years.” The division already sells LTE and WiMax gear to carriers like Verizon Wireless and Clearwire. In the coming months, Brda expects to win a large LTE contract with giant China Mobile. “We are confident we’ll get that,” he says. “We are winning as many [LTE] deals as everyone else.”

The February split from the home unit, which manufactures set-top boxes, shouldn’t affect the networks division’s ability to find customers and win business too much. “The decision Motorola had to weigh is what business has the most synergy [with the home business],” Brda says. Motorola envisions creating cell phones that act as remote controls for televisions and set-top boxes, among other functions. “My goals, my financial objectives haven’t changed whatsoever,” Brda told me this afternoon. “It’s just that I am now reporting to a different leader,” co-CEO Greg Brown. Co-CEO Sanjay Jha heads the second part of the business, which makes mobile phones and set-top boxes.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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