EE awards £250M LTE upgrade deal to NSN

EE awards £250M LTE upgrade deal to NSN

23 FEB 2014

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2014: NSN has scooped a contract to supply base stations to boost EE’s UK LTE coverage by the end of this year to 95 per cent of the population. The deal, valued at around £250 million, calls on NSN to install several thousand base stations in rural areas of the UK.

Commenting on this upgrade to its GSM and LTE network, an EE spokesman told Mobile World Live that it would not include its existing network-sharing partner, 3UK. “This is a big step for EE and aims to differentiate the company’s LTE coverage from the network-sharing arrangement in place today.”

Tommi Uitto, NSN’s VP for Western Europe customer operations, said that key to winning the deal was the technical performance of its base station technology. “Secondly, there was EE’s respect for NSN’s services capabilities in the UK. They know our capabilities as we’re the sole provider of W-CDMA to EE.”

“The contract is significant due to EE being one of the most progressive LTE operators in Europe – they’re like the Koreans in Europe,” Uitto told Mobile World Live. “They have big ambitions in terms of providing a comprehensive LTE network in the UK.”

EE’s CEO, Olaf Swantee, said the move highlighted the operator’s approach to maintaining a differentiated LTE network. “We will continue to lead our UK competitors in speed, coverage and reliability.”

However, NSN’s Uitto was keen to stress that it was successful in winning the EE business despite fierce competition from other network equipment providers. “Over the last few years we’ve significantly improved our technology competitiveness and can now challenge rival suppliers more effectively.”

“But the competition wasn’t over price,” he said. “The pricing has to be correct, but a gun wasn’t held to NSN to win the bid. It is healthy business for us.”

Until this announcement, Huawei was the exclusive LTE supplier to EE. NSN will now share further network deployments on a 50/50 basis with Huawei, confirmed the EE spokesman.


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