MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2011 -- Industrial espionage in the telecom equipment sector appears to be alive and kicking if an incident reported by Nokia Networks is anything to go by.

The vendor's representatives say the security at its "experience center" (a large, closed "village" area in Hall 8 at the Mobile World Congress show) was breached at around 4 p.m. Monday when a Chinese male, disguised as a cleaner, got through its tight security checks by tagging along behind three genuine cleaners who were visiting the center to perform their daily tasks.

The unwelcome guest was spotted peeling away from the cleaning group and checking out the technology presentations. When challenged, the interloper fled the area and couldn't be caught.

NSN staff say they have no proof that he was a spy from another telecom systems vendor, but are convinced that this was a bungled spying incident, and believe a genuine cleaner was bribed to hand over his uniform.

A NSN spokesman says the vendor's security team, which is on guard 24 hours a day, has thwarted two other attempts by unwelcome visitors to gain access to its exhibition space. In one incident, two Asian males with cameras arrived at NSN's center in the late evening (once the show is closed) saying they had been given permission to visit the stand "while it was quiet." They were turned away.

NSN's head of stand security told Light Reading that he couldn't understand why people were trying to gain access without permission. "It's not like we are showing off any prototypes ... it's just madness. I don't know what they think they will see."

Industrial espionage of this kind isn't new, of course. (See Huawei in Spying Flap and The Trouble With Huawei....)

Get all the news that matters from Barcelona at our special Mobile World Congress Show Site.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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oooops 12/5/2012 | 5:12:45 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

They didn't catch him but somehow folks were sure it was a chinese male. Well, the suspect could have been chinese, korean, japanese, thai, taiwanese, singaporean or, alas, american (been to the silicon valley lately?). Or it could be a female posing as a male. Or maybe the suspect was an asian hired by ericsson, alcatel-lucent, cisco or any number of potential competitors of nsn... Or maybe it really was industrial espionage by Huawei/ZTE/HTC/Vizio etc. Who can say for certain but it sure is fun to spread innueando.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:12:45 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

It seems reasonable to assume that this NSN incident isn't isolated. Has anyone else heard of stand snooping at the show?

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:12:44 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

There was an incident of after-hours vendor snooping at 4G World last year too.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:12:44 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand


We used to ship POTS cards with different bezels on them for the cards slid into chassis.  Any real active stuff for live demos were locked up.  Basically every trade show I have ever been at has had a number of competitors trying taking pictures of cards.



BigBro 12/5/2012 | 5:12:42 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

How stupid. By definition, you're showing your stuff to the public -- you should assume that there will be competitors.

When I'm at tradeshows, and I'm not busy talking to real customers/analysts/whatever, I usually invite competitors "snooping" around our booth in, and tell them the information we're publicly telling people, then invite myself over to their booth and help myself to some of their shwag. ;)

You should assume that your competitors have your gear. Anyone who thinks that's not true is being naive, and is underestimating their competition.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:12:42 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

They turned away a guy from Samsung at the entrance to their massive booth/village/center while I was there, although it *was* clear that he was from Samsung.


"I'm sorry sir, your company is considered as competitor."

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:12:38 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

Seven -- Blogs are still here; it's just that they're intergrated into the news queue now.  The most recent blog (Sarah's "Huawei Is Not Low Cost") is 24 hours old, so it's been pushed off the front page.

We'll get something up there soon, don't worry.

In our design refresh, we still need to add a front-page link to access blogs directly.  For now, you can still use this link:  http://www.lightreading.com/blogroll.asp

And... thanks!  Seriously, it's good to know someone would miss the blogs.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:12:38 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

Where the h e double two sticks did the blogs go?  Don't tell me you guys are turning entirely serious???!!!!????

The end of the world is not until next December?  What are we to do until then??




isthisidchosen 12/5/2012 | 5:12:35 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

I recall an incident at TelcoTV last year -where Motorola had a prototype stolen from a private function room. Espionage or a hotel staffer with sticky fingers ? Who knows for sure . . . but exhibitor beware.

rainbowarrior 12/5/2012 | 5:12:33 PM
re: MWC 2011: NSN Chases 'Spy' off Stand

Yes, LR, how do we know that the "perp" was Chinese? He wasn't interrogated. Was there a Chinese-detector at the booth or could you just tell by his sinister, Fu Manchu-look?

Do you really think it is fair to assume that the suspect was Chinese and then link to articles about Huawei?


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