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Finland, home of Nokia, set to exclude Huawei from its networks

Finland is today expected to introduce a new law which could see Chinese telecommunications equipment excluded from the nation’s networks.

It follows Finland‘s minister of transport and communications, Timo Harakka, stating the country would not directly be banning Huawei equipment with the law.

Although it does not name Huawei or fellow Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, the companies are expected to be covered by legislation that prohibits including any equipment within the core of a network if it “would endanger national security or defence”.

The move is unusual due both to Finland’s neutral status outside of NATO, and the exposure of the country’s largest company, Nokia, to reprisals from China.

“We aren’t pointing fingers at any one party,” said Finnish MP Johannes Koskinen to Bloomberg News, adding: “We should ensure we don’t take action that closes doors for Nokia as a result of any backlash.”

According to Nokia‘s chief executive Pekka Lundmark, the company has won 43% of the value of deals created following bans against Huawei equipment.

However, the company is also active in the Chinese market and could potentially face being excluded there if Beijing perceives Helsinki’s new legislation as unfair.

Neighbouring nation Sweden, which is also not a member of NATO, banned equipment from Huawei and ZTE within its networks following the UK’s decision to do so in July.

The British legislation does not make specific reference to Huawei either, however the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSE) has officially designated the company an untrusted, high-risk vendor.

BOCHUM, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 10: The logo of the Nokia plant is pictured on February 10, 2008 in Bochum Germany. Mobile telephone giant Nokia plans to close it's factory in Bochum laying off approx. 2,300 employees citing rising labor costs. (Photo by Jens Koch/Getty Images)

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Nokia has been a major beneficiary of bans on Huawei equipment around the world

The ban on Huawei equipment leaves only two large-scale suppliers of Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment active in the British market: Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia.

Although the ban was brought in on security grounds, according to the NCSC the dependence on just two suppliers introduces a significant risk for the long-term security of UK networks.

The UK has announced it will spend an initial £250m to diversify this marketplace, with a new task force working to find a supplier capable of filling the void left by the ban within the UK’s 5G infrastructure.

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