Cellular coverage to return to ‘90s state in Russia after exit of telecom giants — Reuters
Ericsson and Nokia account for a significant share of the market of telecommunication equipment in Russia (Photo:REUTERS/Tatiana Meel)
After the exit of telecom firms Nokia and Ericsson from Russia, mobile communications in the country may roll back 30 years, Reuters wrote on Dec. 21.
Allegedly, the departure of telecommunications equipment suppliers Nokia and Ericsson at the end of 2022 could lead to irreversible damage to the country's cellular networks in the long term.
Industry representatives predict that Russian cellphone users will face slower downloads and uploads, a large number of dropped calls, calls that will not be connected and longer outages as operators lose the ability to update or make software adjustments.
Ericsson and Nokia account for a significant share of the telecommunications equipment market and about 50% of base stations in Russia. Both companies also provide critical software that allows different parts of the network to function together.
"We are working towards the end of the year and that's when all exemptions (from sanctions) expire," Ericsson's finance chief said.
Nokia also announced that they are not going to supply anything more to Russia.
Major Russian mobile operators refused to comment on the situation or did not answer the agency's questions.
Industry sources expect the severance of ties with foreign companies will set Russian communications back a generation as the rest of the world moves forward with 5G technology.
"If, presumably, this situation lasts for years, Russian cellular networks in terms of coverage may return to the state of the late 1990s, when their coverage was limited to large cities and the richest suburbs," said Leonid Konik, head of Moscow-based IT publication ComNews.
According to experts, rural areas will be the first to fail when operators remove equipment to strengthen urban networks. At the same time, the lack of software updates could lead to network failures or expose it to cyber-attacks.
Earlier, telecom giant Ericsson announced the layoff of 400 employees in Russia.
In November, Russian media reported that Finnish Nokia had asked the United States and Finland for licenses to supply to Russia in order to fulfil the concluded contracts.
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