Google, Qualcomm, and Nokia bet HMD Global makes your first 5G phone

HMD Global just closed a $230-million dollar investment round with investments from Google, Qualcomm, and Nokia. This makes a whole lot of sense as HMD Global works with Foxconn to create Nokia-branded (brand licensed) Android smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors inside. They've made some pretty decent smartphones over the past few years, and they're on the verge of becoming a premiere player in the "highly affordable smartphones with 5G connectivity" market.

Nokia sold its mobile and devices division to Microsoft in 2013, then in 2016 Microsoft sold its Nokia-branded feature phone business to HMD Global (founded by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril). Nokia (the company) entered into a long-term brand-licensing deal with HMD Global and Foxconn to create phones of all sorts, starting with the Android-based Nokia 6 in early 2017.

The $230 million USD investment is the "first closing of [HMD Global's] current funding round from some of its top global strategic partners."

Per the company's announcement on the investment, funds will be used to "accelerate the company's mission to make 5G smartphones accessible to consumers across the world, with an emphasis on strong partnerships with US carriers."

At the same time, HMD Global suggested they'll "further transition to digital-first offerings as part of a new post-COVID reality."

With this deal, Nokia is monetarily invested in HMD Global for the first time. It would NOT be a shock to find HMD Global and Nokia merge into one single entity at some point in the future.

In recent years Nokia's also taken giant strides toward being a major 5G player around the world. Nokia signed a deal with NTT Docomo in January of 2018 to provide 5G wireless radio base stations in Japan. In January of 2019, the Canadian government announced that they'd be granting $40-million (Canadian) to Nokia for Nokia's research on 5G tech. In June of 2020, Nokia announced a $450 contract with Taiwan Mobile to be the sole supplier to build out the carrier's 5G network.