Nokia accelerates 5G rollout as users ignore COVID-19 conspiracy talk

Ms Wills, who joined the Finnish technology equipment provider in February, said the company had not been severely impacted by supply chain issues and plans to pursue new commercial opportunities in Australia as it attempts to bolster its local market position.

Nokia signed a five-year deal with Vodafone Hutchison Australia late last year to supply equipment for the mobile provider’s high-speed 5G rollout. Nokia also has contracts with other providers including the National Broadband Network.

Because we all are relying even more and more to be connected, we haven’t seen any slowdown at all. We’ve just seen people want to accelerate.

Nokia Australia chief Anna Wills

But the pandemic has caused many companies including telecommunications providers to rethink strategy. Like at rival providers Huawei and Ericsson, a lot of Nokia’s equipment is manufactured in China.

“Very, very early on before before manufacturing and before the movement of equipment…and customer fulfilment became an issue we’d already established a global command centre,” Ms Wills said. “We’d already started to really bolster up the places that we deliver from. Has it been absolutely problem-less? No. But has it been a problem? No.

“The strategy…might have accelerated, but it hasn’t really changed. The strategy was always to help to work with our customers as they lift the digital capability of Australia and that’s either through building out 5G networks, or continuing to work with NBN on their network infrastructure.”


Ms Wills declined to comment on previous suggestions that 5G quality in Australia would be impacted by the absence of rival Huawei after the Chinese telecommunications company was banned from involvement in local 5G rollouts on security grounds.

“I’m not going to talk about a competitor of ours, but it’s obviously the case that in Australia we are a leading market in terms of 5G,” she said. “5G isn’t just about network, it isn’t just about network equipment, it’s also about security solutions, it’s about the way in which you move that traffic around.

“There’s opportunities for us to continue to grow our business. We expect there to be a continuous cycle of investments as operators upgrade their networks.”

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