Nokia CEO: Huawei crackdown would harm the whole industry

The chief executive of Nokia has warned that increased regulation over Huawei concerns will harm the whole industry.

Rajeev Suri’s comments were aimed towards European governments who are deliberating over whether to allow Huawei in 5G networks – or to what extent.

Speaking to Financial Times, Suri said:

“What you don’t want is a cumbersome process involving more cost in the supply chain. Let’s be careful. No more red tape, no more bureaucracy and no more extra cost.”

Suri went on to warn of meddling with supply chains and highlighted a 2010 decision by the Indian government to ban Chinese equipment imports which had a huge impact on its economy.

Increased regulations country-to-country will also increase complexity. 5G networks will use software requiring constant updates – going through regulatory approval for each country, and adapting the software where necessary, will slow down rollouts and lead to some economies falling behind others in competitiveness.

The US has been pressuring its allies to ban Huawei equipment over national security concerns, even resorting to threats of cutting off cooperation.

Nokia appears to be benefiting from the uncertainty around Huawei in terms of securing 5G contracts. Last month, Nokia director Federico Guillen said interest has increased from operators in countries debating the use of Chinese equipment.

The Finnish operator has secured 43 commercial 5G contracts so far, putting it ahead of rivals Huawei and Ericsson. Nokia has established a reputation for its end-to-end solutions and says around 49 percent of its orders are now end-to-end, compared to around 35 percent a year ago.

A cooling in trade tensions between the US and China led to Huawei being removed from an ‘entity list’ which prevented American firms doing business with it without prior government approval. Vendors like Nokia will be hoping the news leads to less US pressure to increase regulation.

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