Nokia has signed a major deal with Britain’s biggest telecoms group BT to become the largest 5G equipment provider to the company. The Finish telecom firm will now provide 5G-ready base stations, radio access for outdoor along with indoor coverage, antennas to BT Group. The deal will see the telecom company replacing Huawei in 2G and 4G network of BT. The deal has been signed months after the UK said that it would ban the equipment from a Chinese multinational technology company for its 5G network rollout. The UK government had announced that that it has banned all mobile providers from purchasing new Huawei 5G equipment post December 31. It has also asked them to remove all 5G kit from the Chinese firm from their networks by the end of 2027.
The decision has been taken on grounds of national security. The move ended a strong relationship between Huawei and BT that started way back in 2005. Earlier this year, BT Group said that it used the equipment of Nokia in about thirds of its 4G sites. At remaining places, the company used kits provided by Huawei. At present, Nokia’s kit is providing coverage to customers across London, the Midlands, and many rural locations. The fresh deal will extend BT’s telecom infrastructure to cities like Cambridge, Aberdeen, Dundee, Southampton, and Exeter. This means Nokia will account for almost two-thirds of BT’s communication kit.
BT Group CEO Philip Jansen in a statement said that it is very critical to make the right technology choices in the competitive and fast moving market. According to people familiar with the development, 11,600 BT radio sites will get 5G equipment from Nokia. The group will also use AirScale Single Ran (S-RAN) equipment of Nokia to provide outdoor and indoor coverage to its customers. Commenting on the deal, Nokia said that it will become the largest infrastructure partner of the BT group.