As European governments consider additional security checks for network equipment vendors, Nokia’s CEO warns against the over complication of an already complex supply chain

Nokia’s chief executive, Rajeev Suri, has warned European governments against adding extraneous red tape to their security procedures, as they look to crack down on 5G network security.

European governments are currently reviewing their security verification procedures in the wake of US allegations against Huawei.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Suri, said that governments and regulators should be mindful of overly complicating the supply chain and adding unnecessary cost to their 5G rollout plans.  

“What you don’t want is a cumbersome process involving more cost in the supply chain,” he said. “Let’s be careful. No more red tape, no more bureaucracy and no more extra cost.”

Earlier this week, Nokia was forced to distance itself from comments made by its CTO Marcus Weldon about Huawei – Nokia’s biggest competitor in the 5G network arena.  Speaking about the security allegations made against the Chinese tech giant, Weldon claimed that Huawei’s kit was in some way less secure than Nokia’s.

“Some of it seems to be just sloppiness, honestly, that they haven’t patched things, they haven’t upgraded,” Weldon told journalists from the BBC. “But some of it is real obfuscation, where they make it look like they have the secure version when they don’t.”

Nokia took the unprecedented step of publicly distancing itself from Weldon’s comments, as the industry grimaced at their opportunistic tone.   

"These comments do not reflect the official position of Nokia. Nokia is focused on the integrity of its own products and services and does not have its own assessment of any potential vulnerabilities associated with its competitors,” Nokia said, in a statement to the press.

With operators around the world struggling to meet the capital demands of their 5G rollouts, Suri’s comments about not adding more cost in to the mix are well founded. However, with the industry clearly in need of a single set of unequivocal, codified security standards to be applied to all vendors, this may be one expense that the industry cannot avoid incurring.

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