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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Mikko Lavanti, Senior VP of Mobile Networks, MEA, discussed Nokia's collaboration on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, its strategic partnerships with telecom operators for delivering 5G services, and the company's key priorities in the MEA region. This interview took place during the 17th edition of the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit.

How is Nokia collaborating in the region with customers on ESG Topics?

As we find ourselves in the midst of COP 28 this year at the Telecom Review Summit, earlier this week, we hosted our first-ever Middle East Africa Nokia ESG Customer Council. Nine of the leading customers participated in our sessions, showcasing excellent examples of cooperation.

We were also joined by the United Nations’ female enabling programs. Collaborating with them, we launched a female leadership program, bringing together female leaders from Nokia and e&, globally. The feedback I received from them about the opportunity to work together was exceptionally positive.

We have established various collaborations, such as working with our AVA AI/ML solution to save energy with Safaricom. Additionally, we have undertaken numerous projects related to circular economics with various customers. This week has reaffirmed the strength of our cooperation, emphasizing that together, we must drive this industry forward. As we say at Nokia: “There is no green without digital.”

Please tell us about Nokia's strategic partnership with telecom operators to provide 5G services, especially private wireless networks, to its valued customers.

5G is of paramount importance for business and is experiencing significant growth in the gulf area. Africa and the rest of the region are expected to follow suit. Typically, use cases commence with fixed wireless access, a domain in which we have been actively involved, with many customers. However, the most substantial use cases will undoubtedly revolve around private enterprises. Consequently, we are engaged in various initiatives with multiple customers in the region, particularly in verticals like mining. We are collaborating to construct Nokia's cutting-edge 5G private wireless network solution tailored for example for oil & gas, transport including harbours, mining industry and public safety to mention some of the verticals.

What are your key priorities in MEA for Nokia Mobile networks?

We've had an outstanding year in the Middle East and Africa, particularly in the mobile networks sector. We secured several wins with prominent mobile network providers, including MTN in South Africa, Zain and Orange in Jordan, and a successful collaboration in KSA with leading customers.

Our priority moving forward is to sustain and expand our business. We firmly believe that success is not only tied to technology but also extends to crucial areas such as health and safety. Our focus will persist in advancing technology, enhancing environmental, health, and safety standards, promoting energy conservation, and introducing our diverse portfolio of solutions.

In summary, Nokia's commitment to ESG collaboration in MEA is evident through initiatives like the Nokia ESG Customer Council, showcasing successful partnerships and sustainability efforts. In the realm of 5G services, Nokia's strategic focus on private wireless networks with telecom operators positions it as a technological leader, actively shaping the digital landscape in the region.

Looking forward, Nokia's key priorities in MEA's mobile networks sector include sustained growth, technological advancement, and a holistic approach to areas such as health, safety and environmental conservation. The company's successes with major providers underscore its dedication to business expansion and positive impact in the MEA region.

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