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Nokia CEO Claims Vendor Is Leading In 5G

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri is adamant that the Finnish vendor’s 5G strategy of focusing on “high-performance end-to-end networks” for carriers is starting to pay off.

According to Suri, who made the comments at Nokia’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, the vendor is benefiting from the fact that if offers “wider portfolio elements that our competitors cannot match.”

“5G is not the future anymore. It is here, and Nokia is leading it,” Suri said. “We are winning deals and rolling out some of the world’s first 5G networks.”

The exec touted the vendor’s 37 5G commercial contracts, “20 with named customers including T-Mobile, AT&T, STC, and Telia. 5G is now accelerating and the power of Nokia’s end-to-end portfolio is being recognized.”

The bullish remarks come less than a month after Nokia reported a fairly dismal set of results for the first quarter of 2019. The company linked those results to a failure to supply 5G network equipment on time and the pressure to invest as a consequence of the international dispute over the use of equipment from rival Huawei. Suri at that time said competitive intensity had slightly increased in certain accounts “as some competitors seek to be more commercially aggressive in the early stages of 5G and as some customers reassess their vendors in light of security concerns, creating near-term pressure but longer-term opportunity.”

Now, it would appear that Nokia is starting to exploit the increasingly dire situation for Huawei.

Recent reports suggest that Intel, Google, and other U.S. chipmakers and tech firms have begun to comply with the U.S. government’s trade ban on Huawei and 72 of its affiliates. However, some reports have also noted those efforts have been temporarily eased, highlighting the fluid nature of the situation.

Like Suri, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm, has also weighed in on 5G in recent days. Rather than focusing on Ericsson’s contract wins (18 publicly announced 5G contracts and five live 5G networks including AT&T, KT, SK Telecom, Swisscom and Verizon), Ekholm chose to chastise operators over the slow pace of 5G rollouts in Europe compared to Asia and the United States.

What about ZTE?

Huawei’s rival ZTE is under similar pressure after President Donald Trump issued an executive order that invoked national emergency powers to “deal with the threat posed” by IT and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by entities owned by or controlled by a foreign adversary.

While the order does not explicitly name either China or the two vendors, it is clearly directed at Huawei and ZTE as the administration has been threatening a ban for some time.

Like Huawei, ZTE has remained defiant. One of its latest moves has been to open a European cyber security laboratory in Rome that appears to be an effort to show it can be trusted with national 4G and 5G networks.

The vendor stressed that the lab is designed to be an “open and cooperative platform for the industry,” and “aims to provide global customers, regulators, and other stakeholders with security assessment and audit services, such as source code review on ZTE products including 4G and 5G, security design audit, procedural document review, black box testing, and penetration testing.”―SDX Central

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