Nokia secured another major win at the expense of Chinese rival Huawei, as it struck deals with Orange Belgium and Proximus to upgrade existing RAN networks and supply equipment for future 5G rollouts.
Both operators said in separate statements they had selected Nokia to “renew” 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks, which will be fully completed by 2023.
The moves effectively means Huawei will be stripped from both networks.
John Strand, an independent telecoms consultant, told Reuters Belgium had been 100 per cent reliant on Chinese vendors for its radio networks previously.
The US was particularly concerned about Chinese companies’ involvement in Belgium, considering Brussels is home to the EU’s executive body and parliament, seemingly prompting the country’s major operators into ousting Huawei from its networks.
Aside from upgrading the RAN networks, Nokia will also aid both companies with their 5G rollout, while fellow European rival Ericsson will also be involved, securing a smaller slice of the deal.
The Swedish vendor has been chosen to supply the core of their 5G networks.
Tommi Uitto, president of Nokia Mobile Networks, took to Twitter to express his delight at securing the Orange deal, stating: “I have tried to become RAN supplier to Orange Belgium since 2003 when the company was still Mobistar. Here we are, finally.”
He added that “Proximus was one of its early 2G/GSM customers. “We managed to lose Proximus many years ago. A sweet comeback. Humbled.”
A Huawei spokesman said the Belgian operators’ decision was “the outcome of a tender organised by operators and the result of the free market”.
Nokia’s deals in Belgium come shortly after it won a fresh contract with BT to supply 5G RAN kit, alongside making upgrades to 2G and 4G equipment, following a government ban on Huawei.