Nokia has issued a statement disowning disparaging comments made by one of its senior executives about Chinese rival Huawei.
In an interview with the BBC, Nokia chief technology officer Marcus Weldon warned the UK against using equipment made by Huawei, citing concerns about national security.
Weldon also said US restrictions on Huawei made up for unfair financial advantages the Chinese firm had enjoyed in the past.
“It’s fairness returning to the market,” he said. “We were disadvantaged in the past relative to the practices that the Chinese were allowed to have in terms of funding mechanisms.”
Nokia is a key competitor to Huawei, alongside Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson.
Weldon slammed the Chinese firms over security vulnerabilities in its products, which have been outlined in reports by UK spooks.
“We read those reports and we think okay, we’re doing a much better job than they are,” Weldon said.
“Some of it seems to be just sloppiness, honestly, that they haven’t patched things, they haven’t upgraded. But some of it is real obfuscation, where they make it look like they have the secure version when they don’t.”
But the Finnish firm today said the comments did not reflect its official position.
“Nokia is focused on the integrity of its own products and services and does not have its own assessment of any potential vulnerabilities associated with its competitors,” it said in a statement.
Jerry Wang, chief executive of Huawei UK, said: “Nokia’s statement that one executive’s comments on Huawei do not reflect their official position is recognition that ill-informed loose talk does not help our customers or the industry more widely.”
“We win new business by fair competition and on the basis of our technology and customer focus, not by denigrating our competitors.”