Ericsson saw-off competition from rival vendors to secure a major BT contract covering deployment of its core network, as the UK operator took steps to replace Huawei gear in sensitive parts of its infrastructure.
In a statement, BT, which owns mobile operator EE, said Ericsson would deploy its dual-mode 5G core on the BT Network Cloud, for existing 4G, and non-standalone and standalone 5G services.
The solution will form “a key component” in BT’s move to a single, converged IP network, allowing for new network functions and enabling development of 5G use cases with new enterprise and industry partners, said the operator.
Howard Watson, CTIO, said in a statement it had “evaluated different 5G core vendors”, and decided to go with Ericsson “as the best option on the basis of both lab performance and future roadmap”.
BT held a tender in 2019 to trial equipment from Huawei rivals, with Nokia also vying for the contract.
BT’s move comes four months after the UK government announced operators must keep Huawei out of core parts of 5G networks, while limiting its role in the RAN to 35 per cent. They are also be expected to strip out Huawei kit from core parts of 4G networks by January 2023.
The UK incumbent used Huawei equipment within EE’s core network for 4G services and for early 5G services when the latter launched in 2019.
However, in late 2018 the operator said it planned to remove all Huawei equipment from EE’s core 4G network within two years, in line with its own company policy of keeping the vendor out of core parts of its network.
In an emailed statement, BT suggested the deadline had been pushed back, telling Mobile World Live 100 per cent of core mobile traffic will be carried over to “our new Ericsson converged 4G/5G core by January 2023”, in line with the government deadline.
BT CEO Philip Jansen estimated the operator would take a £500 million hit over the next five years as a result of the Huawei removal, with the bulk coming from stripping out gear from its 4G network.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back