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Ericsson and Nokia both confirm their Russian exit

Russia and Ukraine war, conflict, confrontation. Fighting between Russia and Ukraine, symbolized by national flags stained in blood, 3d illustration

Nordic kit vendors Ericsson and Nokia are gradually moving towards a complete exit from the Russian market.

Last April Ericsson announced the partial indefinite suspension of its activities in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. A day later Nokia seemed to go a step further by declaring a full exit from Russia, pausing only to allow for an orderly transfer of responsibilities. With the war still very much underway four months later, it seems the time has come to formalise the process, or at least begin to.

“Since announcement of indefinite suspension of business operations in Russia in April 2022, we have been working through the implications closely with our customers and employees,” said Ericsson in an emailed statement to Telecoms.com. “Ericsson will gradually wind down business activities in Russia as we complete our customer obligations over the coming months. Ericsson currently has 400 employees in Russia and we are fully committed to provide financial and well-being support to all employees who will be affected. Many of our employees were already on paid leave.”

Meanwhile Nokia has been speaking to multiple media to confirm that it expects its exodus from Russia to be largely complete by the end of this year, pending the completion of all the legal formalities. So the only real update from Nokia is to attach a bit more of a precise timescale to its move than Ericsson has.

The inevitable consequence of the West cutting off Russia is to drive it further into the arms of China. Huawei and ZTE have made no significant public statements on the matter that we’re aware of and the Chinese government, too, has declined to join in the condemnatory huffing and puffing. It does seem safe to assume Chinese vendors will fill the vacuum left by Ericsson and Nokia’s exit, however, thus furthering the trend towards two distinct global telecoms ecosystems.

 

UPDATE – 0900 31/8/22: We received the following official statement on the matter from Nokia:

Our progress to exit the Russian market in an orderly and responsible manner continues on track and according to plan in compliance with all international sanctions and other restrictions.

The only remaining activity we have in Russia is limited maintenance of critical networks fulfilling our contractual and humanitarian obligations.

By the end of the year, the vast majority of our employees in Russia will have moved on from Nokia, and we have vacated all of our offices. We will retain a formal presence in the country until the legal closure is completed.

 

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