Network equipment vendor Nokia wants to buy a software company that helps customers make do with less hardware.

The Finnish networking giant competes with the likes of Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, and Cisco Systems to sell networking equipment, software, and services to telecommunications operators and large enterprises.

On Thursday, it offered to buy Finnish neighbor Comptel, which develops software to help network operators manage their networks and deliver additional services.

Nokia said the deal, valuing Comptel at around €347 million (US$370 million) would help it toward its goal of building a standalone software business.

The bid is a logical move, said Sylvain Fabre, a research director at Gartner: “The days of proprietary infrastructure from network equipment providers are numbered. Virtualized infrastructure will increasingly be procurable from alternative vendors, so focusing on software and applications for telecommunications functions is the way forward for any large vendor that seeks longevity.”

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Nokia makes bid for Comptel to boost its software business