(Bloomberg News) -- Nokia Oyj’s $16.6 billion takeover of Alcatel-Lucent SA will create a leader in building networks for today’s smartphones. The companies are betting they can also get an edge connecting millions of intelligent machines that haven’t been invented yet.

The advent of mobile technology to power high-speed connections for everything from driverless cars to robotic surgeons was a key driver in the merger discussions, according to people familiar with the transaction. The companies are eager to build scale in research and development before the rollout of such fifth-generation systems, so they can avoid losing out to Asian rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies Co.

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