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While Finland’s defence and security businesses have been a reliable NATO supplier, Finland now finds itself in a somewhat neoteric position, being the newest member of the alliance. Over the coming months ESD defence industry veteran Curtis Hand will be speaking with CEOs of iconic Finnish companies about their ‘Finnishness’, the way the Finnish character benefits NATO customers, and how Finnish defence companies are in a better position now to fulfil NATO requirements.

Tero Savolainen, Vice President for Secure Communications Business Development within the Defense & Security arm of Bittium (Photo: Bittium)

This month, ESD speaks with Tero Savolainen, Vice President for Secure Communications Business Development within the Defense & Security arm of Bittium. 



ESD: How has Finland´s telecoms excellence heritage benefitted Bittium and its customers?

Savolainen: In Finland, especially Oulu region is the home of telecoms and high-tech development. Through that, we are privileged to have the expertise and people who have background of developing i.a. Nokia mobile phones during their prime time. Alongside with our secure technology expertise, the heritage from telecoms has given us credible basis to develop a user friendly and secure smartphone.


ESD: Why is it that Bittium’s Tough Mobile 2 C appears to be one of the world’s most secure smartphones available for defence and government uses?

Savolainen: It is purpose build solution from ground up designed to be serving the customers with needs of high level of security. It is certified to handle Confidential level data. Hardened Bittium Secure OS provides excellent secure environment to build customers own private network. Bittium has already a long track record of building secure smartphones and solutions, and we have worked almost 10 years already on this field with our own brand. At the same time, our company has long experience in working with defense forces providing them military-grade tactical communication solutions. All this background and experience can be seen on our Tough Mobile 2 C solution.

The Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C (Photo: Bittium)’

ESD: Why does the Tough Mobile 2 C have two separate OS?

Savolainen: With two operating systems (dual-OS), both professional and personal use is secure, isolated, and easy to use. With separated OS instances with dual-boot functionality it is possible to secure and separate professional and personal usage of the phone most secure way possible. This is also one factor that separates us from our competitors providing different kind of solutions for secure communication.


ESD: What are the ways in which Bittium works with customers to integrate or develop bespoke crypto solutions?

Savolainen: We do work very closely with our customers. We take pride in being reliable, flexible and easy to work with. We can do customization of our products based on specific customer’s needs. Different forms of co-operation are e.g integration customer specific applications to the device, developing some specific features, integrating some customer or country specific crypto algorithms to the smartphone, or even developing variant of the smartphone by giving a customer extensive access to integrate software by themselves.


ESD: How is it that Bittium’s hard and software have such a long, dependable life span when there are so many fast changes in digital communication?

Savolainen: This requires careful planning and excellent products that stand the test of time. Our customers are also requiring long life span of the products and we want to serve the customers best way possible. Our devices are extremely durable and designed to be managed online which enables us to update our device software continuously keeping the devices up-to-date from cyber threats even faster than big OEMs can. Updates are also delivered for several years longer than for COTS devices.


ESD: How can defence and government customers increase their secure connectivity with Tough Mobile 2 C?

Savolainen: Tough Mobile 2 C brings security to a new level and enables customers to share and use classified confidential data on smartphones with completely secure encrypted end-to-end connectivity, which wasn’t possible before with standard smartphones.

Use case: soldier (Photo: Bittium)

ESD: Where will one find Bittium Tough SDR and Tough Mobile (for defence / public order) solutions?

Savolainen: Generally, our Bittium Tough SDR and Bittium Tough Mobile 2 products are not for individual users. People working in enterprise, security, authority, government or defense sector are able to contact our sales through our web page ( You can also meet us in various events and exhibitions, next one being the DSEI event this September in London, for example.

ESD: Which are USPs for using the Bittium’s Tactical SDR and how well does it integrate with legacy systems – does this include the use of dynamic encryption?
Savolainen: One of the unique selling points is our ability to offer wide range of frequency bands and bandwidths in our radios, allowing the use of several waveforms in the radios, which enhances combat survivability. Also our devices’ application sandbox allows integration of carefully selected applications such as messaging software, SIP server like Bittium Tough VoIP or BMS in our Tough SDR radios. Another unique feature in our SDR radios is the simultaneous multi-channel data and voice transmission, as well as long-range video transmission. One important factor for our customers in the defense sector is that our Tough SDRs can be easily integrated with their own legacy IP systems.

ESD: How will Bittium reconcile Finland’s NCSA-FI certification with NATO Restricted certification – how close is the approval process to completion and are they already close to being the same?
Savolainen: That is a tough question. We are talking about authorities who’s schedule we do not have any influence on. However, based on the information received, we expect our secure Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C device and its related system to be found in NATO’s valued NIAPC catalogue by the end of this year, which of course opens more the global markets when other NATO countries can easily find our mobile solution.


ESD: Thank you for sharing your time and unique insights with our subscribers.