BARCELONA, Spain – Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri continued to press the case that European operators falling behind their North American and Asian counterparts in the deployment of 5G should not blame their vendor partners.
Suri made his case as part of a Nokia press conference at this week’s MWC Barcelona event in Spain. Suri told the media and analysts in attendance that it was “illogical” to suggest that Nokia could not meet the demand of European operators when it was today meeting the deployment demands of operators in the U.S.
“Bluntly, the fact’s don’t support the claim,” Suri said. “5G is an ecosystem, not a copyright. No single company determines how or when it develops, and it’s not dependent on any one company.”
Nokia has struck 5G deals with most of the major U.S. carriers that have either already launched 5G services or are set to launch commercial 5G services in the coming months.
Suri instead placed the blame at the foot of a wireless industry that in some markets does not provide enough working capital for operators to invest more aggressively into their 5G deployments. He also noted that regulatory environments often hinder deployment plans and that governments in many European countries have fallen behind in freeing up specific spectrum for mobile carriers.
Suri also countered claims that a lack of trusted vendors would impact the overall cost of deployments. He noted that Nokia was “confident” in its ability to compete, and that includes on important features like security.
“Cheaper is not always better,” Suri said. “Better is better. And in security, better really matters.”
Those comments came on the heels of identical statements made last week by the company’s chief marketing officer.
“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,” wrote Nokia CMO Barry French in a blog post. “And, of course, cheaper is not always better. Better is better, and when it comes to network security, better really matters.”
Nokia’s stance followed recent comments from top executives at some of Europe’s largest operators regarding their ability to match other regions in rolling out 5G networks.
Germany-based Deutsche Telekom is reported to have warned that the roll out of 5G technology in Europe could be delayed by at least two years if wireless service providers are forced to remove the China-based vendor from their lists of 5G equipment suppliers.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read told investors during the carrier’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call that a ban on equipment from Chinese vendors would create a “significant delay” for carriers’ 5G deployments and have a “significant implication” for related costs.
Photo courtesy of Nokia.