Nokia announced it has been selected by U.K. telco BT as its 5G RAN vendor, the Finnish company said in a release.
As part of the agreement, which will make Nokia BT’s largest equipment provider, Nokia will provide equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK, helping to evolve BT’s radio access network to 5G.
Nokia has won 63% of the BT contract, which represents about 11,600 radio sites, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
BT’s Nokia-powered network, which currently includes Greater London, the Midlands and rural locations, will be extended to also cover multiple other towns and cities across the country including Aberdeen, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Southampton and York.
Under the terms of the deal, Nokia will supply its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations and Nokia AirScale radio access products. The deal will also see Nokia optimize BT’s 2G and 4G networks and work alongside BT on the development of the OpenRAN ecosystem.
As part of BT’s network transformation, the carrier will also use Nokia Software’s ng-SDM and NetAct network management platform, supporting the network evolution to 5G. Nokia will also provide its sell Site Gateway product providing key backhaul connectivity.
“Digital connectivity is critical to the U.K.’s economic future, creating jobs and underpinning sustainable growth. That’s why BT is making game-changing investments in full fiber and 5G,” said Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group. “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.”
“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, in a statement.
In April, BT had selected Ericsson to deploy its dual-mode 5G core on the BT Network Cloud, for existing 4G, and non-standalone and standalone 5G services in a move to start replacing gear from Chinese vendor Huawei, which has been banned by the U.K. authorities over security allegations.
Meanwhile, U.K. mobile operator EE, part of BT, initially launched 5G technology in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester in May last year. Other large cities in which the telco offers 5G coverage includes Bristol, Covently, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Sunderland.
EE previously said that the commercial launch was the first phase of the telco’s 5G rollout: a Non-standalone 5G New Radio deployment focused on using the combined power of 4G and 5G technologies. Phase 2, from 2022, will introduce the full 5G core network, enhanced device chipset capabilities, and increased availability of 5G-ready spectrum.
A third phase, beginning in 2023, will introduce Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), network slicing and multi-gigabit-per-second speeds. This phase of 5G will enable critical applications like real-time traffic management of fleets of autonomous vehicles and massive sensor networks.