HMD is making 5G Nokia smartphones in Europe

3 Oct 2023

Image: HMD

The company has revealed a new type of Nokia with 5G capabilities for the European market, as it seeks to capitalise on predicted market growth.

HMD Global, the owner of the Nokia brand, is manufacturing 5G smartphones in Europe, with a model available for enterprise customers.

The company’s first device as part of this initiative is the Nokia XR21, which is available for enterprise customers and a limited number will be available for sale to consumers. HMD said this phone will be available “soon” for the Irish market at a starting price of €649.

The Finnish company said this move is being undertaken due to anticipated growth in the smartphone market. A recent report by Canalys forecasts smartphone shipments in Europe – excluding Russia – will increase by 7pc next year, reaching 132m.

However, this same report claims the market will fall by 13pc this year, due to extended device lifetimes and purchasing cycles, increased pressure from second-hand markets and “high channel inventory levels across the region”.

The latest Nokia 5G device has a focus on security, which HMD said is due to the evolving needs of its enterprise customers. The company said the phone’s data is stored securely in the EU and each device undergoes software and malware testing.

Jean-Francois Baril, the co-founder, chair and CEO of HMD, said the company is thrilled to be manufacturing its “signature rugged 5G smartphone” in Europe.

“We are dedicated to investing in security, technology and manufacturing processes that make our devices more secure and longer lasting,” Baril said. “Our future plans include further investment into software security, with the intention to offer customised software and security features directly to customers.”

5G coverage

HMD also warned that 5G coverage is limited and that it might not be supported by the network service provider of customers, as actual speed depends on the network and other factors.

The adoption of 5G has been positive overall, with estimates that 5G subscriptions worldwide will reach just 5.9bn by 2027, with roughly 1bn reached by the end of last year.

Ireland has several mobile network providers rolling out 5G across the country. In August, Eir claimed its ultrafast 5G is available across 567 towns and cities in Ireland, while earlier this year, the company brought 5G internet to Kerry’s Black Valley, one of Ireland’s most remote communities.

Last month, a survey by BearingPoint suggested Irish consumers have a high understanding of 5G capabilities compared to the rest of the EU, but the adoption of this technology isn’t as strong as it could be.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic