The hub of mobile infrastructure in the U.S. may be in North Dallas, but the allure of Silicon Valley is bringing more of telcom’s big-iron vendors to the Bay Area. Nokia Siemens Networks is the latest, announcing on Monday the opening of one of its Smart Lab testing and development centers in Mountain View.
This is its fifth such lab globally, the others being in its HQ outside of Helsinki and in Paris, Seoul and Dallas. This Smart Lab, however, will have a particular focus on LTE, allowing device makers and OS and app developers to test their wares on live mobile broadband networks. NSN is keying the labs launch with a new analysis tool called Smart Lab Performance Advisor that supplies detailed metrics about how apps and devices impact network load and signaling performance. NSN is counting on developers and device to makers using the lab to create apps and services that can play nicer with 4G networks and their inherent limitations when compared to wireline pipes. NSN will demo the new Performance Advisor tool at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.
The fact that Google and Apple are just down the freeway from the new facility is probably no coincidence. When mobile network vendors first set up shop in the U.S. they aimed to be close to their carrier customers and technology partners, resulting in a huge telecom corridor emerging in the Dallas area. But increasingly the biggest movers and shakers in the wireless industry aren’t the operators building the networks, but the software crafters in Silicon Valley. The telecom industry now thinks it needs to be closer to the new power base in mobile.
The country’s largest wireless equipment Ericsson moved its U.S. headquarters to San Jose in 2009, and the company’s global CTO Hakan Eriksson made the Valley his home for several years before taking over the company’s operations in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. NSN isn’t going quite as far as Ericsson — it’s primary offices remain in Dallas and Chicago – but the attention it’s showing Silicon Valley is telling.