In a hugely significant deal, Telenor announced today it is to replace its entire mobile infrastructure in its home market of Norway, with Huawei and Starent the new equipment suppliers. China’s Huawei will provide the radio access network kit, whilst Starent will supply the mobile core network. The existing network was largely built by Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks. “The scope of the [six-year] agreement includes the delivery of equipment across technology generations and frequency bands, as well as multi-base stations for 2G, 3G/UMTS and 4G/LTE,” noted the operator in a statement. “The change of providers will also entail digitisation, with the entire wireless network and core network being migrated to an IP-based platform.” Telenor added that the replacement of infrastructure “will represent a moderate increase in investments over the next two years, and thereafter improve our cost and capex structure.”
The move is a major fillip to both Huawei and Starent, companies that have expanded in the last few years and are now regarded as serious rivals to more established equipment vendors. “The Huawei deal is significant from a signalling point of view,” one unnamed London-based analyst told Reuters. Shares in Ericsson fell 3.4 percent this morning when news of the deal broke. According to Wireless Intelligence, Telenor is Norway’s largest mobile operator with 2.98 million subscribers and a 55 percent market share.