Reuters: Due to the exit of Ericsson and Nokia from the market, mobile communications in Russia may fall to the level of the 90s

Anna Kholodnova

Communications companies Nokia and Ericsson have informed about their exit from the Russian market by the end of 2022.

Reuters journalists asked five experts how the withdrawal of companies from the market will affect subscribers in Russia. According to the interlocutors of the agency, Russians expect a deterioration of communication, because Ericsson and Nokia account for a significant share of the telecommunications equipment market and about 50% of base stations in Russia.

Experts also noted that it will gradually become more difficult for Russians to update their phones and make calls. Mobile operators will not be able to install new software and find spare parts.

Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark stated that the companyʼs exit from the Russian market will be complete.

"We will no longer supply anything to Russia," he emphasized.

Russian telecommunications operators stockpiled foreign-made spare parts in February and March in anticipation of sanctions. But their stocks will decrease significantly after Nokia and Ericsson stop working in the Russian Federation on December 31.

According to telecommunications experts, rural areas will be the first to fail when operators remove equipment to strengthen networks in cities. And a lack of software updates can cause network failures or make it vulnerable to cyberattacks.

"If, presumably, this situation will continue for years, the level of coverage of Russian cellular networks may return to the state of the late 1990s, when their coverage was limited to large cities and the richest suburbs," the head of the Moscow IT publication ComNews Leonid Konik noted.

  • Reuters, citing sources, wrote that Russian airlines, in particular the state-owned company Aeroflot, disassemble planes to get spare parts that they can no longer buy abroad due to Western sanctions.
  • And in the internal report of the Russian government, with which the publication Bloomberg got acquainted, a deep recession is predicted due to Western sanctions. There, they fear a serious decline in some sectors of the economy and a mass "brain drain" from the country.