Nokia mounted a small comeback in China, winning a deal to provide around 10 per cent of China Unicom’s standalone (SA) 5G core network a matter of weeks after apparently being shut-out of the nation’s next-generation moves.

In a statement, Nokia said the deal covers optical network products, software and cloud core, including unified data management and session management functions. It said the agreement marked an expansion of its existing 4G work with the Chinese operator.

Markus Borchert, president of Nokia Greater China, said in expanding its work with China Unicom beyond 4G, it is looking forward to “close collaboration on novel business models and 5G service innovation to enable an open” ecosystem for the technology.

The vendor missed out on two major 5G RAN tenders in China in April, though during its Q1 earnings call CEO Rajeev Suri said he was “quite optimistic” on winning a part of China Unicom’s 5G core contract.

Last month rival Ericsson secured a deal covering its SA 5G core portfolio with China Telecom, covering cloud packet core, cloud unified data management and policy products.

A ZTE representative told Mobile World Live it was awarded 45 per cent of China Telecom’s 5G core network tender and almost 30 per cent of China Unicom’s.

Huawei declined disclose the size of its contracts with the operators.

China Telecom and China Unicom are jointly building a single nationwide 5G RAN, but deploying separate core networks.