5G is not a missed opportunity for India

13. 04. 2022 Wednesday / By: Robert Denes / Business / Exact time: BST / Print this page

R ead the Economic Times interview with Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia, detailing and analyzing the benefits of introducing 5G in India and investing much of its R&D spending in India.

Where does India fit into Nokia's global scheme of things?

India is the number one country in terms of employment for Nokia with 15,000 employees out of 90,000 globally. It is one of the largest markets in the world and is now entering an extremely important stage with the introduction of 5G and the upcoming auctions. India is also a significant manufacturing base for us. We are managing our global product deliveries from India and are managing our Indian operations over 100 networks in other parts of the world. So, from all aspects India is clearly at the top of the list in terms of priority for us.

Do you think 5G is a missed opportunity for India, given the delay in roll outs?

It's definitely not a missed opportunity in any way. India has made great progress through 4G and now is the natural time to introduce 5G. The auctions are now coming. We are engaging with our customers actively.

What is the impact of chip shortage on Nokia's global and Indian business?

There is a structural deficit in semiconductor manufacturing capacity in the world at the moment. We have seen the situation stable recently, but it is still tight, and it will still take some time before the markets find a new balance. The new Covid outbreaks in different parts of the world could again lead to production challenges in the semiconductor industry. I believe that we have handled the very difficult situations extremely well for our customers.

Will the ongoing war in Europe add to the supply chain challenges?

There is no direct impact but then what the indirect effects could be too early to say

To what extent does the absence of China's Huawei and ZTE benefit Nokia in India?

We position Nokia as a trusted vendor. When it comes to the Chinese vendors, we do not comment.

How much are you planning to invest in India over the next year?

Our big investment is in R&D. Our global R&D investment last year was over ₹ 4 billion and it has actually been increasing. The now likely scenario is that it will continue to increase in India.

Your views on India's 5G airwaves pricing...

The more affordable the frequency allocations, the stronger would be the effect that fuels the economy.

Is there more pricing power for companies like Nokia in India, given that there are fewer vendors now?

India has always been a very competitive market, and I don't think that will change. Indian telcos are extremely hard to negotiate with. The hardest in the world, you might say.

What is your view of India from a policy certainty, stability point of view?

The policymakers make their own decisions. A market with a significant number of operators is typically not healthy. It's not for me to say what is the right number of operators for each country, but in most countries, it is converging towards three or four telcos.

Your thoughts on a new network security setup that India has come up for trusted sources and products. Does that not increase compliance costs and delay roll outs?

The importance of trustworthiness of vendors is increasing in all parts of the world. And the measures that have to be taken in terms of product security, network security are not that different in different parts of the world.

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