Finnish network vendor Nokia secured a one-year contract valued at up to €1.36 billion ($1.5 billion) from China Mobile to deploy its new class of base stations and support the operator’s transition to a flexible cloud network infrastructure.

The so-called ‘frame’ agreement comes at a critical time for Nokia, which last month was reported to be in the process of cutting 10,000 to 15,000 jobs as part of a global redundancy programme. Following its $17.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, the vendor announced its Q1 revenue fell 9 per cent, with mobile networks revenue (on a combined company basis) dropping 15 per cent year-on-year.

Nokia said the world’s largest mobile operator, with about 634 million connections in China, is the first to announce it will deploy its AirScale base station, which allows multiple radio technologies to operate simultaneously in one base station and claims to offer scalability to support 5G speeds and IoT demand. Nokia introduced it at the Mobile World Congress in February.

The Finnish vendor said it will also provide additional elements of its mobile radio access and core portfolio in addition to fixed access, IP routing and optical transport, customer experience management, operational support system and third-party products.

China Mobile has awarded Nokia annual $1 billion deals for the past few years in October, so this win comes early for the vendor. The agreement builds on a longstanding relationship between the two companies dating back to 1994, Nokia said in a statement.

Mike Wang, president of Nokia Networks China, said the deal reflects “our larger footprint in the country following the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent”.