With February every year comes the largest mobile technology event in the world: Mobile World Congress. This year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting on record given that 5G is fast becoming a reality. As that happens, the debate about security concerns related to certain network equipment vendors can be expected to continue, along with assertions that without those vendors Europe will be slow to 5G and costs will rise.
It is an important topic as 5G is truly transformative and every country would be well-served by a fast adoption of this new technology. But any serious discussion needs to recognize that 5G is not a proprietary technology owned or dominated by any single company. No one company holds it under copyright or determines how and when it develops. For this reason, the absence of any single vendor in a particular country or countries should not affect the speed of 5G rollouts in Europe or anywhere else. Cost should not change either. There is plenty of competition in the sector and being cost-competitive is just the name of the game for vendors like Nokia.
It is also worth considering a few other points.
To start with, Nokia is working with pretty much all the major operators in the lead 5G markets of North America, Korea and Japan. We have 20 5G deals, are approaching 100 engagements, and have an end-to-end portfolio that is unmatched by others. Given this, plus the fact that we are the largest R&D investor in our sector in Europe, I would suggest that there should be no doubt that Nokia is ready and able to meet the needs of countries in Europe and beyond.
The reality is that it is not technology topics, or the ability of European vendors like Nokia to deliver, that will define the speed to 5G in Europe. Rather, it is about spectrum, which is not yet available in every country. We continue to encourage every country to make 5G spectrum available quickly and to ensure that it is affordable. As that happens, Nokia will be ready.
We recognize that there are legitimate concerns about the cost and complexity of changing vendors. At the same time, the best moment to do that is at the start of a new technology cycle, not somewhere in the middle. There are ways to reduce disruption, including the upcoming “stand-alone” 5G. Given the long history of innovation in this industry, I am sure that there will be other solutions as well.
On the cost side, as I said at the start, being competitive is just part of being in pretty much any business, and Nokia has always put a premium on productivity and efficiency. And, of course, cheaper is not always better. Better is better, and when it comes to network security, better really matters. Nokia builds security into its products as an integral part of our design processes and, like ethics, it is an area where we do not believe in compromise.
If you want to learn more, come to our stand at Mobile World Congress. We can show you how 5G is not just approaching fast – it is here already. And whatever your market, whatever your sector, Nokia stands ready and able to work with you to build a secure, high performance 5G network – using our unique end-to-end portfolio to unleash the true potential of this extraordinary new technology.
Hope to see you in Barcelona.
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