Thursday, 22 October 2020

BT chooses Nokia to fill 5G void left by Huawei

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 29 September 20

The operator has extended its existing relationship with the Finnish vendor to include 5G RAN equipment

Nokia have announced that BT has chosen them to provide 5G RAN equipment, making them the operator’s largest RAN supplier.   Previously, it was expected that BT’s 5G RAN infrastructure would be a mix of both Huawei and Nokia, but the start of this year saw the UK government decide to limit Huawei&rsquo…

Nokia have announced that BT has chosen them to provide 5G RAN equipment, making them the operator’s largest RAN supplier.
 
Previously, it was expected that BT’s 5G RAN infrastructure would be a mix of both Huawei and Nokia, but the start of this year saw the UK government decide to limit Huawei’s involvement in the nation’s 5G deployments significantly, banning them from working on the network’s core and limiting them to a 35% market share. At the time, BT said that reducing Huawei’s market share to the specified limit would cost them around £500 million.
 
However, continued pressure from the US and within the UK government saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson take restrictions one step further in July, asking all operators to phase Huawei out of their networks entirely by 2027. 
 
This restriction has opened the door for Huawei’s rival’s like Nokia and Ericsson, with the former today winning out to replace the Chinese vendor. The extension will see BT’s Nokia-powered network, including Greater London and the Midlands, extended to numerous additional towns and cities, including Aberdeen, Lincoln, Southampton, and York, to name but a few.
 
The deal will also reportedly see Nokia replace Huawei’s 2G and 4G equipment within BT’s networks.
 
“I am delighted that BT has extended its partnership with Nokia on 5G RAN, making Nokia BT’s largest infrastructure partner. Our two companies have collaborated for over a quarter of a century in order to deliver best-in-class connectivity to people across the United Kingdom. We are proud to support BT’s 5G network evolution and look forward to working even more closely together in the years to come,” said Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia.
 
While this was something of an open goal for Nokia given Huawei’s geopolitical limitations, this is nonetheless a major contract for the vendor, the exact value of which is unknown.
 
“Big win for Nokia given the competitive nature of the market,” said analyst Paolo Pescatore from PP Foresight. “It was important for BT (and EE) to move quickly to avoid losing any further ground in 5G rollout.”
 
 
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