Nokia distances itself from CTO’s comments about Huawei

Nokia distanced itself on Friday from comments made about Huawei by the Finnish firm’s CTO, Marcus Weldon, in an interview with the UK’s BBC.

Weldon said Nokia’s equipment was “a safer bet” and pointed to a recent study by IoT security firm Finite State, which claimed several cybersecurity risks within Huawei enterprise equipment and devices.

The Nokia CTO told the BBC: “Some of it seems to be just sloppiness, honestly, that they haven’t patched things, they haven’t upgraded. But, some of it is real obfuscation, where they make it look like they have the secure version when they don’t.”

Weldon also said pressure from the USA. was helping to make the market fairer, since Huawei had enjoyed financial advantages compared to Nokia, particularly in the form of state backing to support vendor financing deals. “We were disadvantaged in the past relative to the practices that the Chinese were allowed to have in terms of funding mechanisms,” he said.

But Nokia issued an official statement that said Weldon’s comments about Huawei’s security, especially with regard to UK networks, “do not reflect the official position of Nokia  … Nokia is focused on the integrity of its own products and services and does not have its own assessment of any potential vulnerabilities associated with its competitors.”

The day before, the latest of a string of reports estimating the cost of removing Huawei from existing networks was published. This one related to the USA and came from CoBank Knowledge Exchange Division. Even though Huawei is barred from the national operators’ networks, it sells to smaller telcos and to some enterprises, and the cost of removing its kit from those networks was estimated to be over $1bn. A similar report for the UK said the cost of removal would be £6.8bn (7.6bn).