TOKYO -- Nokia sees the next-generation 5G wireless connection platform as a key element in bringing the "internet of things" to life and the next chapter for the company, CEO Rajeev Suri told The Nikkei on the sidelines of the 18th Nikkei Global Management Forum here.
Edited excerpts from the interview follow.
Q: What is your vision for 5G, which is said to be 100 times as fast as the current wireless standards?
A: With the internet of things, billions of devices are connected. Everybody, everything is connected. All of those is enabled by 5G because when 5G was conceived, the idea was to be able to have a technology that enables many, many things to be connected. So I think 5G enables IoT. And IoT brings time back to people like us, consumers. We will get more time. We will get more productivity in our lives. But more importantly, there will be a lot of productivity coming to various kinds of companies in various sectors.
Q: Can Nokia take a leading position in 5G?
A: We are No. 1 in 4G in the world. We have more than 30% market share. You know, based on 2015 numbers we have 32%. So of course we are nicely positioned to continue to lead the industry.
We supply to all the major operators in South Korea, and all three operators here in Japan and all the operators in the U.S. And I think the experience that we will get first from these markets will be instrumental to how 5G will develop all the time. If you work in Japan, South Korea and the U.S., your product road map gets better around the world, because the most demanding use-case requirements are in those countries.
Q: What role do you see for your Japanese affiliates and lab in Kawasaki?
A: We have focused on 5G, IoT and the cloud in Kawasaki, which we did last year. We have plans to open an IoT lab in Tokyo in the coming months. I have mentioned demonstrations that we are going to do with our customers. The role is really to understand ... more about what 5G can do.
A good example is the [2020 Tokyo] Olympic Games. We have security monitoring ... and of course having VR [virtual reality] cameras in the stadiums. There are so many use cases that will be set up for the Olympic Games that we want to understand.
Q: What is your VR strategy?
A: We launched [our VR camera] in the U.S. in the beginning of this year, and we launched in China. We will soon come to Japan, then Europe. We are selling it to professional companies, like in Hollywood and NASA. ...
Our strategy is now to start with the professional camera, which is priced higher. Then we want to come down to what we call the professional consumer segment, and ultimately we will see if we want to come to consumers.
Q: Can you comment on future merger and acquisition plans?
A: We are doing small-size acquisitions all the time, even this year, even while we are integrating [with French competitor] Alcatel-Lucent.
This industry is quite consolidated already. If you think about the industry, there used to be 10 players 10 years ago. Now there are three strong players. So I think the consolidation is done.
Interviewed by Nikkei staff writer Takashi Sugimoto