Getting to Know Nokia

This post, so aptly titled, contains facts, tidbits and morsels of information about Nokia. Ones that you may never have known, ones that you may have heard about and ones that may have been common knowledge to some. So let’s have at it…


Nokia is rated number one by Greenpeace. In a time where manufacturers are trying to make boxes smaller, and use less plastic in mobile phones, TVs, gaming consoles and computers, Nokia is the top “green company”. This is as of 3 months ago. I’m sure you’ve heard of Sony Ericsson, Apple, Dell, Acer, and LG. They make phones, among other things. Well, it seems Nokia straight up bested them with policies on things such as toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change. Even with all the hoopla about Nokia not making the cut in North America – it seems they’re winning where it actually counts.


Nokia has roots that can be followed and dated back to the mid 1800’s. Sorry, what? That’s right; 5 years shy of 150 years ago, Nokia was making paper – the original way to get your opinion out there, putting pencil to paper.


Built next to the Nokianvirta river, wood mills churned out pulp for paper and gave Nokia their foot in the door to the communications era. Fredrik Idestam (original founder) also won a medal at the Paris World Exposition – and is hailed to be the father of paper production in Finland. How many mobile tech companies can say they pioneered an industry for an entire country?




Nokia has history with producing gas masks and encrypted telecommunications hardware for the Finnish military. Influenced by (pre-merger) Finnish Rubber Works, M61 gas masks, manufacturer by Nokia Corporation, were standard issue for Finnish Defense Forces.

The SANLA M/90 was a portable text-based digitally encrypted communications device for use in many outposts in the Finnish military. sanlajaradioIt featured the ability to send and receive messages via radio or telephone connectivity, an LCD display and a 55 button keyboard. I wonder how the keyboard compares to current devices on the market. This is an actual field-use picture. Click to enlarge and you’ll see the Nokia logo on the upper right hand near the LCD. 




Nokia holds around 300 patents on GSM and mobile telephony. – which works out to just under HALF of the Intellectual Property Rights that are essential to GSM. You can’t make and sell a GSM phone without licensing from the 42 thousand global patents (and patent applications) that Nokia holds.


As I’m sure you know, Nokia has had to challenge and defend quarrels from the likes of Qualcomm, Apple, HTC over patent infringement and other patent issues. The majority have been resolved, and it’s rumored that Nokia will start licensing Qualcomm and producing devices using their chipset eventually. This is yet to be seen, since Nokia has such a strong relationship to Texas Instruments. 


It’s July 1st, 1991. Harri Holkeri, the Prime Minister of Finland, places a simple phone call. harriholkeriThing is, it’s the first ever GSM call in the history of all man kind. I’ll also mention that it was placed using Nokia switching equipment within the Radiolinja Network and with a Nokia branded handset. Same deal in 1994, first official GSM call in China, using a Nokia handset on the Beijing TA4 network, provided by Nokia.

From the first digital portable phone (Nokia 1011) to the first IPv6-enabled GPRS network (10 years ago) – I don’t have enough hands to count how many times Nokia has achieved “worlds first…”.


On a more personal note, did you know that both Anssi Vanjoki (Executive VP & General Manager, Mobile Solutions) and Pekka Ala-Pietila (President, at the time) were charged with moving violations, and slapped with fines of roughly $103,600 and ~$44,500 respectively? That’s what happens when you live in Finland – where traffic fines are based on both severity and income of the accused offender.

 redHarleyWhat for? Vanjoki was accused of whipping through Helsinki on his cherry red Harley at 75km/h in a 50km/h zone. His fine was later reduced to just over $5,000. His associate, Pekka, was charged with running a red light back in 2001.



So there you have it. A quick list of the top “achievements” and little details about Nokia that you may have never known.


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