Smartphone and telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia has announced its departure from the Russian market over its recent invasion of Ukraine. The HMD Global owned Nokia joins a long list of tech companies exiting Russia over the war. For example, Nokia’s industry rival Ericsson said it would suspend its business indefinitely in the country earlier this week.
“We just simply do not see any possibilities to continue in the country under the current circumstances,” Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark told Reuters. In addition to the departure of tech companies, Russia faces steep economic sanctions. These sanctions are led by several EU countries as well as the U.S.
It’s worth noting that some Russian sectors, including the telecom industry, have been exempt from the sanctions on humanitarian grounds. But Nokia claims that it didn’t have any other option but to leave Russia.
Nokia’s departure also means the shuttering of its plans to build 4G/5G base stations in Russia with YADRO
Lundmark said that Nokia would continue to support customers in the region despite the exit. But the CEO couldn’t provide a precise timeline for the company’s complete withdrawal from the region. In a statement, Nokia said it is currently applying for licenses to support customers while ensuring compliance with the existing sanctions.
Nokia doesn’t expect a massive disruption in its 2022 financial results due to its departure from Russia. But the company said it would enable a provision of around €100 million ($109 million) in the first quarter of the year.
Russia previously wanted Nokia and Ericsson to develop network infrastructure in the country using locally sourced equipment. Additionally, the two companies were also encouraged to build factories in Russia. But the latest developments have effectively ended those plans.
Last November, Nokia and YADRO announced plans to build 4G and 5G base stations in Russia. The Nokia CEO has now confirmed that the plan will not move forward.
Meanwhile, the Finnish company’s decision to leave Russia could impact 2,000 local workers. Lundmark said that some could be offered positions within the company in other parts of the world. “A lot would have to change before it will be possible to consider again doing business in the country,” he said.