Nokia signs 5G deal to become BT’s “largest infrastructure partner”

29 September 2020 | Melanie Mingas


Finnish manufacturer Nokia has extended its longstanding partnership with BT to become the operator’s largest infrastructure and equipment provider.

As such Nokia will provide equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK, helping to evolve BT’s radio access network to 5G and solving the supply chain woes caused by Huawei’s UK ban.

The deal will also see Nokia “optimise” BT’s 2G and 4G networks by replacing existing Huawei kit.

Nokia president and CEO Pekka Lundmark, said: “I am delighted that BT has extended its partnership with Nokia on 5G RAN, making Nokia BT’s largest infrastructure partner. Our two companies have collaborated for over a quarter of a century in order to deliver best-in-class connectivity to people across the United Kingdom.

“We are proud to support BT’s 5G network evolution and look forward to working even more closely together in the years to come.”

In working alongside BT on the development of the OpenRAN ecosystem, Nokia is to supply its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations and Nokia AirScale radio access products.

BT will also utilise Nokia Software’s ng-SDM and NetAct network management platform, which the operator said build upon existing network architecture and provide an immediate cornerstone and single platform for new 5G-based services. Finally, Nokia will provide its state-of-the-art Cell Site Gateway product for key backhaul connectivity.

Philip Jansen (pictured), CEO of 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.”

BT’s Nokia-powered network currently includes Greater London and the Midlands in addition to rural locations. It will be extended to cover multiple other towns and cities across the UK including Aberdeen, Brighton, Cambridge, Exeter, Hull, Lincoln, Newbury, Plymouth, Southampton and York, among other locations.