Nokia’s new president and CEO Pekka Lundmark (C) shakes hands with President and CEO Rajeev Suri who resigned after a press conference at Nokia’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland on March 2, 2020.
Markku Ulander | AFP leaflet via Getty Images
LONDON – Nokia announced Tuesday that it has signed a major 5G equipment deal with BT, which is the UK’s largest telecommunications group.
The announcement came after English word in July that they would ban Huawei equipment from launching its 5G network, and that suggests that Nokia is replacing the remaining part of Huawei’s infrastructure in BT’s 5G network.
Philip Jansen, CEO BT Group, said in a statement: “In a fast-moving and competitive market, it is very important for us to make the right technology choices.”
Under the agreement, Nokia will provide 5G equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK
In particular, BT will use Nokia’s AirScale Single Ran (S-RAN) equipment to provide indoor and outdoor coverage for its customers. That equipment includes base stations and radio access products.
The Finnish telecommunications company said it would become BT’s biggest infrastructure partner as a result of the deal, with industry sources telling CNBC that it would cover 63% of BT’s entire network. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Nokia currently powers the BT network in London, the English Midlands and several rural locations – but that footprint will now grow.
Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of Nokia, said in a statement: “Our two companies have worked together for more than a quarter of a century to provide best-in-class connectivity to people across the UK.”
He added: “We are proud to support the evolution of BT’s 5G network and look forward to working more closely together in the years to come.”
In July, British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said mobile network operators in the country would be forced to stop buying equipment from Huawei by the end of the year. They are also required to remove Huawei equipment from their infrastructure by 2027.
This is a big reversal for the UK, which in January gave Huawei limited access to the country’s next-generation mobile network. Under previous guidelines, mobile network operators were required to reduce the share of Huawei devices in non-core parts of their infrastructure by up to 35% by 2023.
A Huawei spokesperson said: “We embrace fair competition because it provides innovation for consumers and the more diverse the supply chain, the more competitive it becomes. The UK network faces dependence on only two vendors for 5G from 2027, delaying 5G rollout-out and undermining supply diversity. which is very important for network security. “
—CNBC Ryan Browne contributed to this article.