Recently, Reuters reported a piece of heavy news that European telecommunications equipment manufacturers Nokia (Nokia) and Ericsson (Ericsson) announced that they will gradually withdraw from the Russian market in the near future. Leonid Konik, editor-in-chief of the Russian media ComNews, warned that “if the situation continues for many years, the coverage of mobile networks in Russia may fall back to the level of the late 1990s, and the network service range will be limited to large cities and the wealthiest suburbs.”
Ericsson Chief Financial Officer Carl Mellanger told Russian media: “We have been working hard until the end of this year, but by then all sanctions waivers will expire. Our departure will be completed before this point.”
The Russian side issued a statement saying that the withdrawal of Nokia and Ericsson will not affect the quality of communications in Russia. Russia has actively subsidized domestic telecom equipment manufacturers. In 2022, the market share of Russian manufacturers in mobile network equipment will increase from 11.6% in 2021. to 25.2%, although this can reduce the dependence on foreign communication manufacturers such as Nokia and Ericsson to a certain extent, but after these telecom equipment manufacturers leave, they will also stop updating their software. A major problem facing 2023.
In this regard, relevant sources said that nearly half of Russia’s ground base stations belong to Nokia and Ericsson, and related antennas, optical fibers and other hardware and related driver software are also provided by these two manufacturers. If Nokia and Ericsson withdraw from the Russian market, Russia will gradually lose the ability to repair telecommunication equipment. In the future, when Russians use mobile phones, they may feel that the upload and download speeds are gradually slowing down, and the number of communication failures and interruptions will also increase.
It is reported that Nokia and Ericsson currently account for about 50% of Russia’s mobile base stations. The remaining 50% of the market is divided between Huawei and ZTE.
Just before that, Huawei has announced that it will withdraw its Russian branch and stop selling telecommunications equipment in Russia from January 1, 2023. Since Huawei closed its first experience store in the Riviera Mall in Moscow on February 28, it has begun to close most of its official experience stores in Russia. Experience stores in Novokuznetsk, Ufa, and Rostov-on-Don were also closed. As of the end of May, there were only 15 official Huawei experience stores still open in Russia.
Among the three equipment manufacturers, Nokia has about 2,000 employees in Russia, and some of its support staff will be transferred to a new company established by Russian executives; Ericsson has 1,600 employees in Russia, and some of these employees will be diverted to Ericsson in the future. Branches in Europe and the CIS; Huawei’s Russian branch has 2,000 employees who can voluntarily choose to transfer to Huawei’s branches in the CIS countries.