Telecommunications equipment maker Nokia believes that the tirade against the rival Chinese firm Huawei – the largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world, has been a “net positive” it. The comments were made by president of mobile networks at the Finnish company, Tommi Uitto.
Nokia now has the opportunity for grabbing market share because of the current political situation, Uitto said during an interview to CNN Business. While Huawei currently has 50 commercial 5G deals around the world, Nokia has 43.
“There are some countries that have banned Chinese competitors, and of course that creates an opportunity for us,” Uitto said.
Indications that Nokia has been notching up more new 5G customers than Huawei in recent months can be got form the figure that the Finnish company had struck about 30 contracts at the end of March, say analysts. Till about the same time, Huawie had announced signing of 40 such contracts.
The case of Japan was pointed out by Uitto where last month, Nokia and Ericsson were chosen to be the suppliers of 5G networks for SoftBank. The Japanese firm had removed Huawei from its list even though the Chinese was the chosen vendor earlier.
Uitto said that Australia, New Zealand and the United States are new markets where Nokia has been able to expand to and where there is restriction on Huawei being included in the construction of 5G networks.
He added that negotiations for replacement of telecom equipment from Huawei in small rural networks in the US are currently ongoing. There are also a number of mobile connectivity carriers who are approaching Nokia to prepare themselves for the eventuality of some other governments putting restrictions on the use of Huawei equipment.
“Operators want to anticipate and make sure they are prepared for what may come,” Uitto said.
Despite being the largest telecom equipment maker of the world, the pressure and campaign by the US government against Huawei has severely complicated its leading role in the rollout of next-generation 5G wireless networks.
For many months now, the US has been urging its allies to ban the participation of Huawei in development of 5G networks in the ally countries because of concerns over threat to national security. the US alleges that the telecom equipment supplied by Huawie has ‘backdoors’ that can be exploited by Chinese agencies to spy on western countries. Such allegations and concerns have however been repeatedly rubbished by Huawei.
Last month Huawei was put on a Commerce Department blacklist by the US which effectively banned all American companies from doing business with the Chinese firm and cut off the access of Huawei t o American technology which is critical for it.
There are however some drawbacks to the political situation surrounding Chinese suppliers, Uitto cautioned.
“Uncertainty in general is not good for business,” he said. “Some of our customers may be delaying their decisions. If you have an operator who has Nokia and a Chinese supplier, then this current situation may delay their own decision-making.”
Such a political situation could make Huawie even more assertive in some regions, he said.
“It is possible … that our Chinese competitors become even more aggressive in markets and in countries where they can compete,” Uitto said. “They may feel the pressure to backfill the lost business volume in the rest of the world.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)