HMD Global shifts its data centre from Singapore to Europe
18 June 2019
HMD Global, the Finnish company behind the iconic Nokia brand of mobile phones, has decided to shift its data centre from Singapore to Finland, stating that the move will boost data security and will improve users’ phone experience.
Earlier this year, Finland’s data protection authority opened an investigation against HMD Global after it came to light that user data from Nokia phones were getting transmitted to a server in China that was managed by China Telecom.
In response, HMD Global admitted that data was indeed leaked to China but it occurred because of a software error that was rectified in February 2019. “We have analyzed the case at hand and have found that our device activation client meant for another country was mistakenly included in the software package of a single batch of Nokia 7 Plus,” the company said.
“However, such data was never processed and no person could have been identified based on this data. This error has already been identified and fixed in February 2019 by switching the client to the right country variant,” it added.
Barely three months after the issue arose, HMD Global has announced that it is shifting its data centre from Singapore to Hamina, Finland not only to improve the security of activation and performance data it holds but also to improve experiences of Nokia device users.
“Staying true to our Finnish heritage, we’ve decided to partner with CGI and Google Cloud platform for our growing data storage needs and increasing investment in our European home. This move further reinforces HMD Global’s commitment to adhere to all applicable European security measures and legislation, including EU data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),” said Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer at HMD Global.
“Google Cloud and CGI were natural choices to be our strategic cloud partners thanks to our pre-existing close collaborations with them, which ensures that we’re implementing our leading data security and analytics technology at a global level.
“We want to remain open and transparent about how we collect and store device activation data and want to ensure people understand why and how it improves their phone experience. This change aims to further reinforce our promise to our fans for a pure, secure and up to date Android, with an emphasis on security and privacy through our data servers in Finland,” he added.
HMD Global’s new data centre will be based at the Google Cloud Region in Hamina, Finland and will store phone activation and performance data generated by Nokia 4.2, Nokia 3.2 and the Nokia 2.2 phones. Data from earlier Nokia smartphone models will be migrated to the new data centre following the arrival of Android Q later this year and this process will be completed by 2020.
HMD Global’s decision to shift its data centre from Asia to Europe comes not long after Google announced its intent to invest up to 600 million euros in a new data centre in Finland. The new data centre will be in addition to the existing data centre in Hamina, Finland in which Google has already invested approximately 800 million euros.
While the shifting of data centres to Finland by global companies is trending upwards, the same is not the case when it comes to Denmark. According to Data Center Dynamics, Apple recently cancelled the building of a $921m data centre in Aabenraa, Denmark, instead opting to expand its existing data centre located in Viborg, Denmark. The expansion project of the Viborg facility has already been delayed by two years.
Facebook, another trillion-dollar global giant, recently cancelled its plans to build a second hyperscale data centre in Esbjerg, Denmark, stating that it had concluded that the location of the centre was not right.
“We have decided to shelve our project regarding a data center in Esbjerg. After 12 months of extensive research on the project, including significant investments in the specific ground, we have now reached a point where we can make a fully informed decision.
“Despite the many obvious benefits, including the advantageous access to high-speed fiber and renewable energy, as well as strong support from Esbjerg Municipality, we had to conclude that all in all the site is not the right location for our next data center in Europe,” Facebook said.