Nokia inks massive 5G deal with T-Mobile US

30 JUL 2018

Nokia scored its largest 5G deal to date, signing a $3.5 billion agreement to supply end-to-end equipment and services for T-Mobile US’ nationwide 5G rollout.

Under the agreement, Nokia will provide hardware, software and services for the operator’s 5G launch on 600MHz and 28GHz spectrum, including its AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, 5G acceleration services, and AirScale radio platforms and cloud-native core.

The pair will also team up to develop, test and launch new connectivity services across sectors such as enterprise, smart cities, utilities, transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and government services.

In a statement, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said: “Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we’re making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network.”

A T-Mobile representative told Mobile World Live the deal is an expansion of a collaboration the two announced at MWC in February 2018. At the time, Nokia noted plans to begin work on T-Mobile’s 5G network in the second quarter, with deployment expected to be completed in 2020.

Ray said in February construction would include 5G installations in 30 cities across the country in 2018, adding T-Mobile would also use equipment from rival vendor Ericsson. The representative confirmed that despite the size of the deal, T-Mobile will “continue to partner closely with other global network infrastructure leaders,” including Ericsson.

In June, T-Mobile claimed a 5G milestone in a trial with Nokia, achieving the first bi-directional data transmission over mmWave. Ray recently added on Twitter the pair also marked the first simultaneous, non-standalone 5G NR and 4G LTE connection in their latest round of tests, which he said shows “how we’re going to lay this transformative technology right on top” of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.

Timing
The T-Mobile deal comes at a key moment for Nokia, after Ericsson and Samsung both announced 5G deals with Verizon.

Nokia posted lacklustre results in Q2, but CEO Rajeev Suri said business was expected to pick up in the second half of the year as operators ramp their 5G spending.

The vendor today said its earlier statements “fully included the expected impact of the agreement with T-Mobile announced today, and thus is not affected by today’s announcement”.

Author

Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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