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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Mikko Lavanti, head of mobile networks MEA, Nokia shares his company’s latest products and solutions as well as partnerships in the MEA during the 15th Telecom Review Leaders Summit 2021 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai.

Please tell us about the latest developments in Nokia’s Mobile Networks business and Radio Access Networks (RAN) products?

We launched our AirScale products earlier this year. This product is an industry leader both in terms of capacity with compact size and power and has had a great success around the world. We are also happy to have it available for our customers in the Middle East and Africa region. 

Nokia is seen as the global leader when it comes to the 5G market, what is the company's position in the MEA region and what are its growth strategies?

Nokia is creating the technology that helps the world act together and our 5G product is a key part of that for the region. In terms of opportunities, in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Gulf area, we have very experienced customers who are at the forefront of deploying 5G. We are developing new products and new solutions for customers. In Africa, 5G might still be a couple of years away and we think that this is a great opportunity for growth for Nokia. We are here to support our existing customer base as well as look at new customers in the region.

Please tell us about Nokia's collaboration strategies in making O-RAN and VRAN a commercial reality in the MEA region?

Both O-RAN and VRAN are now key topics globally. Nokia is one of the main founding members of the ORAN coalition and we have been there since the beginning. We are steering two of the standardization groups and all this work is available for our customer base here. Both ORAN and VRAN will be available in the markets somewhere between 2023-2024, but all our products have the standardized CPRI 7.2 interfaces so whenever you buy Nokia products today, you can rest assured that they are all ready once you want to start using those solutions. Often people think that ORAN is a cheaper solution, but in practice, it is much more about time to market and how you introduce new services in the ecosystem.

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