Our history

Nokia has been adapting to the needs of an ever-changing world for over 150 years

From its humble beginning in 1865 as a single paper mill operation, Nokia has found and nurtured success over the years in a range of industrial sectors including cable, paper products, rubber boots, tires, televisions and mobile phones.

Case Study

Nokia’s transition to a primary focus on telecommunications began in the 1990s. The first GSM call was made in 1991 using Nokia equipment. Rapid success in the mobile phone sector allowed Nokia to become by 1998, the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world. In 2003 Nokia introduced the first camera phone. In 2011, to address increasing competition from iOS and Android operating systems, Nokia entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft. In 2014 Nokia sold its mobile and devices division to Microsoft.

The creation of Nokia Networks, following the buy-out of joint-venture partner Siemens in 2013, laid the foundation for Nokia’s transformation into primarily a network hardware and software provider. The 2015 acquisition of Franco-American telecommunications equipment provider Alcatel-Lucent greatly broadened the scope of Nokia’s portfolio and customer base. Additional acquisitions have positioned Nokia to be an industry leader in the transition to 5G wireless technology by offering the only end-to-end 5G network portfolio available on a global basis. 

In 2016 Nokia re-entered the mobile handset business with a licensing agreement with HMD Global allowing them to offer phones under the Nokia brand. 

An acquisition strategy focused on creating the industry’s leading global, end-to-end 5G portfolio

History of Nokia

Nokia Bell Labs

Bell Labs, a division of Alcatel-Lucent, brought to Nokia an unparalleled history of technological innovation including: lasers, transistors, and UNIX. Bell labs researchers led analog, digital and mobile shifts in communication technology; the development of the Internet; and the innovation of wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) enabling huge increases in network capacity. Bell Labs launched the mobile revolution.

Case Study

An unrivalled track record of innovation

Nokia continues to pursue strategic acquisitions that enhance our strong end-to-end portfolio of products and solutions as we prepare to enter the 5G era.


Patent applications (in 2017)


Nobel prizes


Turing prizes