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A report claiming one of Europe’s biggest operator groups has demanded Nokia get its house in order when it comes to 5G has not really been refuted by either of them.

Reuters grabbed the exclusive with the headline ‘Fearing Huawei curbs, Deutsche Telekom tells Nokia to shape up’. The reporter had not only spoken to the ubiquitous anonymous source who reckons they know a thing or two, but got hold of internal documents too. They paint a picture of DT having a low opinion of Nokia’s 5G offering, resulting in the vendor being ditched by most of the countries in which it operates.

All the fuss around Huawei, however, especially the EU’s recent guidance, seems to have forced DT to have another look at Nokia, albeit with a heavy heart. It looks like DT has put the ball in Nokia’s court and told it there’s business to be had it if can raise its game. This doesn’t seem especially contentious since Nokia openly admits to having dropped the ball on 5G and DT wouldn’t have dropped it as a supplier without good reason, you assume.

But for some reason the two companies felt compelled to address the story nonetheless. “We have been a long-term partner of Deutsche Telekom and have been proud to work with them extensively over the years, providing leading network technology and services,” said Federico Guillén, President of Customer Operations, EMEA & APAC, Nokia. “We continue to work extensively with Deutsche Telekom which is one of our most significant customers, both in Europe and the U.S.”

“As one of the major European manufacturers, Nokia is of strategic importance to Deutsche Telekom,” said Claudia Nemat, Board Member Technology & Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “It is well known that Deutsche Telekom is pursuing a multi-vendor strategy so that we are not dependent on just one supplier. This is an elementary part of our security philosophy. However, as in the past, Deutsche Telekom will not comment on individual contractual relationships and strategic purchasing decisions.”

So why bother with the announcement at all then? Nothing in either statement comes close to addressing the claims in the story, one way or the other, and the whole thing just comes across as a lame attempt at damage limitation, presumably driven by Nokia. But the good news for Nokia is that it’s first in line to get some scraps off the Huawei table if it can get its 5G act together.

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