Nokia won a fresh contract with BT to supply 5G RAN kit, alongside making upgrades to existing 2G and 4G equipment as the operator works on stripping Huawei out of mobile unit EE’s network.
In its announcement, Nokia hailed the new deal as making it the UK fixed and mobile operator’s largest infrastructure supplier.
Though not mentioning Huawei specifically, Nokia noted the agreement supported “BT’s commitments to the UK government around the use of high risk vendors” in the nation’s infrastructure.
In addition to supplying 5G radio kit, the contract covers optimising the operator’s 2G and 4G networks. Nokia already supplies RAN equipment across technologies and is BT’s main 3G supplier. The companies are also set to work together on the development of open RAN, Nokia added.
The agreement comes as a boost to Nokia, which lost out on a number of high profile 5G tenders this year, most notably in China. The vendor also faces pressure from Samsung as it continues to expand its networks business in some of Nokia’s key markets.
Nokia’s deal will likely come as a blow to rival Ericsson which, in the immediate aftermath of the UK government’s decision to ban Huawei, wasted no time in pitching itself as being ready to step into the void left by the Chinese vendor.
Following pressure from the US and political wrangling, the UK government banned use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks in July with operators given until 2027 to rip out existing kit.
Earlier this year BT signed-up Ericsson to supply its core network as it began removing Huawei equipment from following continued speculation about the latter’s future role in the UK network market.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back