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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Mikko Lavanti, Senior Vice President of MEA Mobile Networks at Nokia, discussed Nokia's strategic vision for mobile networks in the region. As one of the leading figures in the telecommunications industry, Lavanti shared insights into Nokia's key technological advancements, its plans to address challenges concerning mobile networks, and the latest projects and solutions launched by Nokia in this dynamic field.

What is Nokia’s strategic vision for mobile networks in the region?

The Middle East and Africa region holds immense significance in our growth strategy. Our record for 2023 reflects substantial growth in this region, surpassing even that of India, and we intend to build upon this momentum. The diversity of the region is striking, from areas with modest economic outputs but high growth potential to dynamic markets with ambitious aspirations. We are actively engaged in these markets and are committed to further expansion.

The Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia and UAE which we consider as a pivotal market; present us with tremendous opportunities and is where cutting-edge technology often makes its debut. Establishing our regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia underscores our commitment to this market, and we're expanding our infrastructure (including a 5G hardware repair center and logistics capabilities) to better serve our customers. Moreover, we're eagerly exploring opportunities not only within Saudi Arabia but also beyond its borders. We are excited about the prospects for growth and innovation in this region.

Can you highlight the key technological advancements Nokia envisions for mobile networks?

Saudi Arabia holds exceptional significance for us. Presently, we are addressing several key issues in the region. As unveiled during LEAP through a joint press release with stc, we are, in collaboration with Microsoft, introducing a groundbreaking solution tailored for enterprise markets. This exemplifies our collaborative approach, harnessing the strength of our partnerships to deliver innovative solutions. Additionally, we are demonstrating how our services are being integrated within existing infrastructure, highlighting the value our customers derive from our offerings. Furthermore, we are actively exploring opportunities to enhance remote monitoring capabilities within the metaverse, ensuring better network management and optimization. These initiatives underscore our commitment to innovation and our dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our clients.

How does Nokia plan to address the challenges concerning mobile networks?

Much discussion surrounds the challenges and uncertainties of 5G implementation, particularly regarding the emergence of viable use cases and revenue streams. However, we firmly believe that collaboration with our customers, particularly in the enterprise sector, is paramount. For instance, in Europe, we have successfully deployed private, tailored solutions such as network slicing, demonstrating our commitment to addressing specific customer needs. Additionally, our focus extends to areas such as fixed wireless access, where we provide cutting-edge technologies to meet evolving demands. Furthermore, we recognize the critical importance of security in the digital landscape, and we are dedicated to enhancing our offerings in this realm. These endeavors underscore Nokia's ongoing commitment to supporting our operator customers and drive innovation in key areas of telecommunications.

What are the latest projects and solutions Nokia has launched for mobile networks?

We are extremely pleased with our recent achievements. As I mentioned earlier, we received positive feedback during our recent survey. Last year, we have won 11 new customers, including one in South Africa and two in Jordan. Additionally, we acquired new customers for example in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. I am particularly thrilled about this momentum, and I anticipate it will persist as we continue to serve our existing customers.

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