Russia to expect difficulties in mobile communication – Baltic News Network
Telecommunications equipment manufacturers Nokia and Ericsson are leaving the Russian market at the end of the year, and their departure could seriously undermine the country’s mobile communications networks, writes Reuters.
Industry sources said Russian mobile users are likely to experience slower uploads and downloads, more dropped calls and connection problems, and disruptions as operators are unable to update or repair software and physical parts run out.
Ericsson and Nokia, which together serve nearly 50% of Russia’s base stations, make everything from antennas to equipment that connects optical cables. Companies also provide software that allows different parts of a telecommunications network to function together.
Carl Mellander, Ericsson’s chief financial officer, told Reuters the moment had come for the sanctions to take full effect, and the exceptions were no longer relevant. Nokia’s CEO also confirmed that the company’s exit from the Russian market will be complete and that it will no longer be supplied with anything.
So far, the Russian economy has coped with the sanctions imposed on it, but the departure of telecom equipment makers could have a profound effect on Russians’ daily lives, making even simple activities like making phone calls difficult.
Russia has not commented on this, but its telecommunications operators are reportedly already signing contracts to buy $1.45 billion worth of Russian-made equipment.
Although Russia has turned more to domestic companies in recent years, the departure of foreign manufacturers will set Russian mobile communications back several decades. The head of the IT news portal ComNews, Leonid Konik, said that a situation may arise when mobile communication is available only in cities and the richest areas.
Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei will no longer sell new equipment to Russia, but will continue to update its software and perform maintenance work.
The biggest problem for mobile operators will be keeping the network running without the ability to update or patch the software, as neither Nokia nor Ericsson will offer more updates. It is the software that allows the different parts of the network to connect and ensure that it works as intended.
Russia has been buying equipment stocks and started doing so in February and March before the Western sanctions took effect, but it will not be enough to keep mobile networks functioning normally.