Nokia claims new 5G deal will make it BT’s biggest infra partner

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BT, owner of mobile operator EE, has boosted Nokia, choosing it to provide equipment and services at the operator’s radio sites across the UK.

BT’s current Nokia infrastructure in Greater London, the Midlands and some rural locations, will be extended to cover other towns and cities across the UK.

The vendor says its work for BT will help the operator meet commitments to the UK government concerning the use of High Risk Vendors (HRVs) in UK network infrastructure.  

Chinese takeaway

Or in straightforward terms, replacing Huawei kit before the seven-year deadline is up. Guillermo Pedraja, Head of Networks, 5G & IoT Consulting at NTT DATA UK, commented, "Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the UK telco market’s pivot away from Huawei.

“The ban, imposed earlier this year, forced telco providers to radically reassess their equipment suppliers, having relied upon Huawei’s high-quality, low-cost solutions for more than a decade.”
From the portfolio

Nokia will supply its AirScale Single RAN portfolio for indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations and AirScale radio access products.

Ecosystem ambitions

The deal will also see Nokia optimise BT’s 2G and 4G networks and work alongside BT to develop an OpenRAN ecosystem. Read Caroline Gabriel’s views on the dangers of current approaches to open RAN – she is research director of Rethink Research.

BT will also deploy Nokia Software’s ng-SDM and NetAct network management platform, to support the network’s evolution to 5G. According to Nokia, the solutions build on the existing network architecture and provide an immediate single platform for 5G-based services. Nokia will also provide its Cell Site Gateway for backhaul. 

Nokia reckons it will provide “digital design and deployment” for a faster time to market,  optimisation and technical support services.

Old pals, new future

Philip Jansen, CEO, BT Group (pictured) said, “BT is making game-changing investments in full fibre and 5G. In a fast-moving and competitive market, it’s critical we make the right technology choices. With this next stage of our successful relationship with Nokia we will continue to lead the rollout of fixed and mobile networks to deliver stand-out experiences for customers.”

This is a great start to Pekka Lundmark's term as President and CEO, Nokia, having begun his tenure on 1 September. He noted, “Our two companies have collaborated for over a quarter of a century…We are proud to support BT’s 5G network evolution and look forward to working even more closely together in the years to come