Huawei loses to Ericsson in bid for Deutsche Telekom’s 5G

Huawei loses to Ericsson in bid for Deutsche Telekom’s 5G RAN

22 July 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Deutsche Telekom has avoided a clash with the German government by deciding to award Ericsson its contract for 5G network equipment.

The company said today that it has picked Ericsson for its 5G radio access network (RAN) across Germany, with spectrum sharing to flexibly manage both 4G and 5G traffic.

Claudia Nemat (pictured), Deutsche Telekom board member for innovation and technology, said: “We are pleased to have found a leading 5G supplier in Ericsson as a partner, who has also convinced us in the past in the modernisation of our mobile access network.”

She added: “After the reliable and on-time modernisation, the bar for the 5G roll-out in the antenna network is naturally also high.”

Only weeks ago many were expecting that Huawei was in first place for Deutsche Telekom’s 5G RAN business, though a company official told Reuters on 7 July: “It is entirely doing away with Chinese providers in security-critical areas such as core mobile network.”

The same Reuters report said that the German government would not agree rules on installing components in future 5G mobile networks until at least September.

The business newspaper Handelsblatt last month unearthed Deutsche Telekom documents that likened a ban on Huawei equipment to “Armageddon”, and earlier this month the political news site Politico said it had seen 2019 documents saying that Deutsche Telekom was strengthening its strategic relationship with Huawei.

Politico said that: “Deutsche Telekom executives described Huawei repeatedly as a ‘strategic partner’ that is ‘key for our 5G plans’.”

Deutsche Telekom’s Ericsson order comes eight days after the UK government said it would ban the installation of more Huawei gear in British 5G networks after the end of 2020, and demand the removal of all existing 5G kit by 2027.

The day after that UK decision, Capacity reported that many feared it would begin a domino effect across Europe as other major operators rejected Huawei.

In January Orange selected Nokia and Ericsson as vendors for its 5G network across France.

According to the terms of today’s German deal, several mobile sites will be upgraded to the latest 5G technology standard over the next few years using Ericsson Radio System products and solutions.

The company said the 5G deal is in addition to a multi-RAN agreement as Deutsche Telekom takes the next step following the successful joint modernisation of its 2G, 3G and 4G radio networks over the past two years.

Deutsche Telekom will use Ericsson’s spectrum sharing solution, allowing it to manage 4G and 5G traffic dynamically in its network through efficient use of existing spectrum, enhancing coverage, performance and mobility.