Nokia gets $40M for 5G investment in Canada

Nokia sign at MWC18
Nokia will establish a new Nokia Bell Lab in Canada to conduct research around 5G. (FierceWireless)

Nokia is stepping up its 5G R&D game in Canada, securing a $40 million investment from the government and promising to establish a new Nokia Bell Lab in Canada to conduct research to meet the needs of 5G technology.

The government was expected to sell the deal as a way to support more than 2,000 of Nokia's jobs already in Canada and to create 237 new positions, according to a CBC article. Nokia Canada's projects, valued at over $214 million, are based in Mississauga, Ontario, and the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

Mike McKeon, Nokia’s director of Canada business development, told the Ottawa Business Journal Friday that 5G applications will require “more efficient and higher capacity and less expensive” technology underpinning the networks.

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“You can't just scale things the way they've been scaled in the past; you have to deploy new intelligent technologies into the network such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics,” he told OBJ.

Part of Nokia’s work preparing for 5G will address a growing concern around cybersecurity. The more devices connecting to the internet, the larger the “threat surface,” McKeon said.

As it tries to develop new ways to address these threats, Nokia is getting some help in the form of Nakina Systems, a cybersecurity software firm the company acquired in 2016. McKeon told OBJ that Nakina’s contributions have been invaluable to Nokia’s cyber efforts in the past few years and that Friday’s funding will further the work the Ottawa firm had started.

“We're investing quite a bit in that and this grant from the federal government helps us scale that up,” he told the publication.

RELATED: Huawei faces new criminal investigation, bill in Congress

The funding comes as the Canadian federal government is in the middle of a national-security review of the potential involvement of Huawei in Canada's 5G network. The issue of whether Huawei is allowed to build the country’s 5G networks has connections to Canada's recent arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the company's CFO and daughter of its founder. Canadian police arrested Meng at Vancouver's airport at the request of American authorities, who are seeking her extradition on fraud allegations.

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