MANILA, Philippines—One of the world’s largest telecommunications companies has opened a research and development (R&D) facility in Quezon City that is seen employing thousands of information technology (IT) professionals in the next three years.
The P2-billion research facility named NetworkLabs—owned by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN)—will be the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia. It is expected to make the Philippines, particularly Metro Manila, a major R&D center in the region competing with the likes of India and mainland China.
“NSN chose the Philippines for NetworkLabs in Asia among other countries because of its confidence in the country’s vast resource of skilled engineering students and graduates from reputable universities,” NSN Asia Pacific head Paul Tyler said on Monday.
Tyler said the company aimed to forge partnerships with the country’s top engineering schools like Mapua Institute of Technology, De La Salle University, University of Sto. Tomas, University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University.
This will be done to ensure the ample supply of talent that will drive NetworkLabs’ growth in the years to come. “NSN aims to provide the opportunity for the Filipino engineers to showcase their skills and knowledge on a global scale without having to leave their families yet benefit from the training, work exposure and globally scaled challenges NetworkLabs has to offer,” Tyler said.
Employees at the new facility will work on developing new technologies that will support advancements in third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) wireless network technologies. These are the main platforms used today to deliver high-speed wireless Internet and connectivity services by phone firms around the world.
Aside from developing new software solutions for NSN, NetworkLabs will also provide technical support for the group’s customers around the world.
NSN says about five billion people will be connected to each, thanks largely to 3G and 4G technologies, by 2015.
“The establishment of NetworkLabs will further enhance the presence of NSN in the Philippines and heighten the company’s thrust to solve the 4G challenge,” NSN East Asia Customer Operations head Ashish Chowdhary said.
In a separate statement, NSN Philippines country director Cesar Castro said the NetworkLabs facility would promote and strengthen the Philippine IT sector by taking the lead and making a significant investment in the country.
He said the company would hire 500 workers by the end of this year and the count would double by 2012.
“By spearheading this effort, NetworksLabs will encourage other companies to bring their R & D more to the Philippines. The company will be the pioneer in a Silicon-Valley like environment where IT incubation start-up companies provide new and innovative software solutions. This will help strengthen the Philippine IT and telecommunications industry,” Castro said.