Nokia-Siemens Networks has a message for its competitors: we're gunning for a much bigger share of the North American market. Speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto last month, Nokia-Siemens CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie said the company "is prepared to step up" and has set some aggressive growth targets, one being to climb the ranks of telecommunications equipment suppliers in North America. In fact, the company - already the number two network provider globally - is confident it can improve on its sixth place position in North America to become the world's number one telecom equipment supplier. "We are determined to have a global position in North America," Beresford-Wylie said during his presentation. "We think we've got a great chance here." In an interview with Report on Wireless and Network Letter editor Perry Hoffman at the Summit, head of Canadian operations Mark VanderHeyden said the event was the company's coming out party. Nokia-Siemens has some reference contracts on this side of the Atlantic, he said, highlighting the Wi-Fi network in Toronto. But, he added, there is still a lot of room to grow, and the Canadian operation can play a major part in improving the company's overall share of the North American telecommunications market. VanderHeyden also noted that Nokia-Siemens Canada should be able to influence network purchasing decisions south of the border. "There are some specific product areas that I think we can show some leadership and allow to start looking north," he said. During the 30-minute interview VanderHeyden talked about the evolving Canadian landscape, the future of telecommunications and how Nokia-Siemens can become a much larger player in North America. Below is an edited excerpt of that interview. Perry Hoffman: What will be the areas of focus for Nokia-Siemens in Canada and what are the prospects for the company? Mark VanderHeyden: We do have a very broad and impressive portfolio that we are now going to re-engage. Areas we're looking at are our IP transport portfolio, we have some very strong WDM and optical products. I know it's Nortel's backyard, but when we have some differentiators in the product we want to bring out. We're encouraged about the opportunity as the wireless operators look toward the future. Whether they want to evolve their networks today to be in wideband CDMA or out to LTE there is an evolution path we can offer. Being number two in the world, we think we provide an excellent portfolio and opportunity for them to consider us in those plans. And potentially there's going to be a new entrant in Canada and we think we have the ability ....to help that entrant. PH: Does the next generation equipment allow for a new player to enter the market without the legacy infrastructure? MV: If they choose to jump into WiMAX for example, they have to look at the entire ecosystem. There could be equipment that's enabled today, but what about the devices at the other end? That's why Nokia-Siemens Networks coupled with Nokia is a very strong one. When you can go the device side and make sure that you have customer-acceptable product at the right price points, with the right capability to leverage the functionality of the network that you've built, it's a unique thing that we can offer. So the viability of that will depend on what technology they want to put into the spectrum that becomes available. PH: Would you be able to provide an estimate on how much a new operator would have to spend to build a network in Canada? MV: Plenty of people and analysts have said what they think it's going to cost, but we are more interested in modeling. What would it take to build? And at different price points, what could a new operator capture? What could they enable? The interesting thing is with the new network and the new devices also comes new services and you can't always speculate what the take rate or willingness to pay for new services would be. The viability of someone building a whole new network depends a lot on where they are going to concentrate and how attractive that is going to be. We don't know everything that's out there, but we know there are new things compared to what we have today. PH: Can you talk about some of Nokia-Siemens' products and where they fit in with the whole wireless infrastructure evolution? MV: Our Flexi Base Station creates a whole new dynamic because it's the type of product that can be carried by a technician and be mounted onto a tower or an antenna. We're not talking about real estate, cabinets and separate power stations; this gear can be mounted right on a tower and is good to go. It's much smaller than competing gear meaning the operating expenditure is less than half of others in the industry and so we create a bit of a different model for a company that wants to build a new network. The platform also supports WiMAX and LTE. This year at 3GSM, we demonstrated an LTE product with 144 Mbps over the air which is pretty impressive. We're demoing it today but again it's about the ecosystem. When the product is available near the end of the decade, we still have to look at the ecosystem of devices and the ability to utilize that kind of bandwidth. But we are right at the leading edge of having that. PH: Is that a lesson learned from the hype of 3G? MV: I wasn't in the wireless industry back then but my understanding is that it took quite a while until there was the quantity of devices at the right cost point. Is that a lesson learned? Absolutely. Customers want the latest and greatest - when can I have LTE? When can I put it in my network? You'd love to do it as soon as possible but you want them to make money with it, too. So you have to look at that bigger picture.