BT Dumps Huawei For Nokia 5G

Nokia has signed a 5G deal with BT in the UK and is set to become a major beneficiary of Huawei being blocked from the UK's 5G networks.

Nokia’s 5G deal will make it BT’s largest infrastructure partner. The move comes after the British Government decided to ban the Chinese firm from having a role in the country’s 5G network.

The Finnish telecoms firm will provide additional base stations and antennas to let EE customers' devices make calls and transmit data via the UK firm's 5G "radio access network".

In July the UK said that it would ban Huawei equipment from its 5G network rollout and it suggests Nokia is replacing Huawei’s remaining share of infrastructure in BT’s 5G network.  With this contract, Nokia will provide 5G equipment and services at around twelve thousand BT radio sites across the UK. 

The decision to remove Huawei was taken on national security grounds and brings to an end the commercial relationship between BT and Huawei that goes back to 2005.

Recently, BT announced that Nokia's equipment was used at about a third of its 4G sites, which were being upgraded to 5G, while Huawei's kit was used at the remaining ones.At present, Nokia's kit provides coverage to EE customers across parts of London, the Midlands and various rural locations. The latest deal will extend BT's use of its telecoms infrastructure products to further cities and towns including Aberdeen, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Southampton and York.

Philip Jansen, CEO, BT Group said: “Digital connectivity is critical to the UK’s economic future, creating jobs and underpinning sustainable growth. That’s why BT is making game-changing investments in full fibre and 5G. In a fast-moving and competitive market, it’s critical we make the right technology choices...With this next stage of our successful relationship with Nokia we will continue to lead the rollout of fixed and mobile networks to deliver stand-out experiences for customers.”

Nokia is now set to account for about two-thirds of BT's radio access infrastructure and it is expected that BT will soon strike a deal to buy kit from a second vendor to avoid becoming solely dependent on Nokia once Huawei's equipment is banned outright.

A spokesman for Huawei claimed that reducing the number of infrastructure equipment providers risked "delaying the 5G roll-out and undermining diversity of supply so essential to network security".

The fallout for Huawei comes after the Government decided in July to ban the Chinese firm from having a role in the country’s 5G network, owing to tougher US sanctions restricting Huawei’s ability to build chip sets

 Nokia      CNBC:      BBC:          Belfast Telegraph:      AOL

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