Nokia to cut thousands of jobs following Alcatel deal

Nokia to cut thousands of jobs following Alcatel deal

Telecom network equipment maker Nokia is planning to cut thousands of jobs globally, including 1,400 in Germany and 1,300 in its native Finland, as part of a cost-cutting program following the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year.

In France, Nokia said on Wednesday it will cut only 400 jobs, but will also create 500 posts in research and development, in line with a promise to the French government last year when it was negotiating the Alcatel deal.

“The pledges made by Nokia when it bought Alcatel-Lucent have been kept,” said Frederic Aussedat, a representative of the CFE-CGC union in France.

Nokia declined to give a total figure for global job cuts. The company employs about 6,850 people in Finland, 4,800 in Germany, 4,200 in France and around 104,000 around the world.

“This (1,300) is a terrible figure, we have rather difficult employment situation in the sector to begin with,” Pertti Porokari, chairman of the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland, said. “Seems that Finnish workers have lost this match (against the French).”

Nokia took control of Franco-American Alcatel-Lucent in January following its 15.6 billion euro ($17.7 billion) all-share offer, intended to help it compete with Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei in a market where limited growth and tough competition are pressuring prices.

Nokia is seeking 900 million euros billion of operating cost synergies from the Alcatel deal by 2018.

BSNL testing wi-fi network to connect 1 lakh panchayats

BSNL testing wi-fi network to connect 1 lakh panchayats

As the government’s rural broadband project is facing long delays, telecom PSU BSNL is testing an alternative Wi-Fi-based network to connect about 1 lakh village panchayats in a year with high-speed Internet. “The process of laying fiber network calls for huge amount of physical labor. We have started a pilot to test broadband connectivity to village panchayats using Wi-Fi network. With this we are hopeful of connecting about 1 lakh village panchayats in a year,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.

The state-run firm is testing sustainability of technology in three villages in Alwar district of Rajasthan. “We have written to the Department of Telecom about this project and looking for support of USO fund for it. Once we get the approval, we will start process for commercial deployment,” Shrivastava said.

Under the project, a wireless network over six kilometers has been set up connecting Wi-Fi towers in three villages – Karenda, Phalsa and Bahadri – with BSNL’s exchange in Bhiwadi. About 500 test connections have been provided to various users, including schools.

A domestic telecom equipment maker firm, Vihaan Networks, is implementing the pilot project for BSNL. “Government is exploring best possible technological options to expedite the implementation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). With this Wi-Fi-based technology, we are able to deliver benefits of broadband in villages where there is no connectivity,” Vihaan Networks Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra said.

The government had approved NOFN project worth around Rs 20,100 crore in 2011 for facilitating at least 100 megabit per second (Mbps) bandwidth in all the estimated 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs). The project is being handled by a special purpose vehicle under the Telecom Ministry which has distributed work to three central public sector units – BSNL, Railtel and Powergrid.

The project was to be completed by 2013 but has missed several deadlines. The NDA government, which came in power in May 2014, had planned to connect 50,000 GPs by March 2015, another 1 lakh by March 2016 and rest of the one lakh by December 2016.

However, it now expects to complete roll out by 2018 and connect only 1 lakh panchayats with broadband by end of this year.