Finnish telecommunications company Nokia wants to lay off between 5,000 and 10,000 employees globally over the next two years to try and reduce costs, international media reported on Tuesday.

The tech giant said it wanted to use the savings to catch up with rivals on 5G, the new generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks which phone companies began deploying in 2019, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said.

Nokia currently has 90,000 employees around the world, after slashing thousands of jobs since 2015, public broadcaster BBC reported.

File photo

According to the Guardian, last year the company absorbed almost 40,000 people in Europe, 20,500 in the Asia-Pacific region, 13,700 in Greater China, 12,000 in North America and 3,700 in Latin America. However, it also cut 1,233 jobs.

This time around, in Finland, mainly at the company’s headquarters in the capital Helsinki, about 300 individuals are expected to be affected by the job reduction.

“These plans are global and likely to affect most countries. It is too early to comment in detail, as we have only just informed local works councils and expect the consultation processes to start shortly, where applicable,” the Guardian quoted a Nokia spokesperson as saying.

The company’s new chief executive Pekka Lundmaek, who took over in August, has vowed to catch up on 5G after Nokia fell behind main competitors like China’s Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson, according to ChannelE2E.

A corporate logo is displayed at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki.

“In those areas where we choose to compete, we will play to win. We are therefore enhancing product quality and cost competitiveness, and investing in the right skills and capabilities,” Lundmaeak said.

The BBC said Nokia had been knocked from its top position as the biggest handset manufacturer in the world after it failed to anticipate the popularity of internet-enabled touchscreen phones.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa