CEO Suri surprised by HMD’s success with phones; Nokia ready to fight Huawei in 5G

Finnish medium Helsingin Sanomat did an interview with Nokia Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri. They talked about finances, acquisitions, 5G, Nokia’s end-to-end portfolio, competition, Nokia OZO and Nokia Health, healthcare in general, and HMD and the job they are doing in the mobile market.

Nokia CEO said that he was surprised by the success HMD had in its first year on the mobile phone market, adding that they didn’t expect such results. HMD Global in 2017 shipped 70 million phones, of which 60 million were feature phones, according to IDC. The strong result shows that the Nokia brand is still valuable and that HMD is doing a solid job, especially in terms of feature phones where sales grew almost 80% year on year. Suri stated that the best markets for HMD were India, Indonesia, China and Russia, but HMD’s aim is to establish itself as a major player in all markets.

Suri discussed 5G, and said that only Nokia and Huawei offer an end-to-end portfolio in terms of 5G. Hiring Nokia to do the whole 5G implementation process would save operators 40% in cost compared to using equipment from different manufacturers, said Suri. He is confident that Nokia will be able to win the 5G war and expects profit increase in the coming years. In terms of acquisitions, he said that large acquisitions, in the range of 10 to 20 billion euros, aren’t needed at the moment, but the company is always looking for new assets that would fit into their strategy.

He was then asked about Nokia Health, and Suri characterized the acquisition of Withings as an experiment that didn’t give the desired results. He added that they have 6-8 great projects in R&D worth hundreds of millions if not billion of euros, that may become a commercial success in the future. In order to succeed, sometimes you have to fail – could be a general conclusion from Suri’s words about Withings and Nokia Ozo.

You can find the whole interview at in Finnish, but Google Translate and Bing do a nice job in translating so it is understandable (mostly). It’s great to see that Suri declared HMD’s work last year as a success, and maybe HMD will license the brand (and acquire the crew) to keep the Nokia Health gadgets going, but it is clear that a change of strategy in Nokia Health is needed to succeed on the market. Just one example that should tell you enough against what Nokia Health is up to, Xiaomi announced a 30 dollar scale that has all the features (if not more) of a 100$+ Nokia scale.