Nokia and Tele2 use 5G to control tree-thinning drones

  • November 8, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Swedish firm AirForestry is using a private mobile 5G network from Tele2 and Nokia to control six-metre wide electric drones that enable harvesting and thinning of forests from the air.

AirForestry develops high-capacity drones for forest thinning. With its electric harvester drones, it is possible to thin and harvest forests from the air without damaging the ground or surrounding trees. For the drones to communicate with the environment in remote forest areas where there is often no traditional coverage, a stable, secure and robust connection with high capacity is needed to handle, for example, video transmission with low latency to control the drones.

Together with Nokia, Swedish telco Tele2 will deliver a 5G private wireless network to AirForestry in a pilot project. The pilot will run during 2024 and, if successful, the ambition is to introduce this into commercial forestry operations. Tele2 will deploy the technology, which enables a stable and private connection in remote forest areas and ensures higher speeds and availability.

“Airforestry’s technology is undoubtedly revolutionary, and their vision is to make forest harvesting more efficient and sustainable, which is ground breaking,” said Stefan Trampus, executive vice president at Tele2 ( “It is extremely gratifying to be part of this journey and contribute to the realisation of completely new innovations. 5G and private wireless networks remove previous limitations and create unlimited business opportunities, and we look forward to more applications that can increase companies’ innovation and competitiveness.”

The drones are controlled from a portable shed with 5G antennas that are positioned to cover the area to be thinned. The mobile offering allows it to be easily set up where needed and where there is no public coverage or any other alternative technologies.

“Our drones require efficient and reliable data transmission to be able to handle all the data they send and receive when harvesting and thinning forests,” said Olle Gelin, CEO of Airforestry ( “We looked at different options regarding connectivity, but in the end a mobile private 5G network was the one that suited our specific needs best.”

Nokia will deliver its Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) that will provide performance, bandwidth and low latency enabling digital transformation for the forestry industry.

“Nokia is thrilled to be part of this project partnering with Tele2,” said Stephane Haulbert, Nokia ( enterprise partners business leader in Europe. “Airforestry’s approach to forestry is truly disruptive. It is resource-efficient and reduces damage on the ground level to an absolute minimum. One of the challenges is precise navigation of the drones and a state-of-the-art 5G private wireless network is the perfect technology to support this application.”