Nokia selected by BT for 5G RAN infrastructure

Nokia selected by BT for 5G RAN infrastructure

Business news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Nokia has extended its long-term strategic relationship with BT into the 5G arena, following its selection as a 5G RAN (radio access network) vendor for the UK operator. The agreement will make Nokia the largest equipment provider to BT. Nokia will provide equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK, to evolve the radio access network to 5G and maintain the network.

The network using Nokia technology, which currently includes Greater London, the Midlands and rural locations, will be extended to also cover multiple other towns and cities across the United Kingdom. This enhanced Nokia footprint will support BT’s commitments to the UK government around the use of High Risk Vendors (HRVs) in UK network infrastructure, a reference to the Huawei ban on purchases from 31st December and phase out of all Huawei equipment from the UK by 2027.

Nokia will 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. These systems will enable BT to build on its existing network leadership in the UK  to deliver connectivity and capacity benefits to consumers at ultra-low latencies as well as reducing complexity and increasing cost efficiencies. The deal will also see Nokia optimize BT’s 2G and 4G networks and work alongside BT on the development of the OpenRAN ecosystem.

An end-to-end 5G system enabling operators to capitalize early on 5G, Nokia AirScale Radio Access run all technologies in the same RAN, offering huge capacity scaling and leading latency and connectivity. It is able to place any radio at any location with any capacity while delivering high-performance in the cloud and at the edge.

See also: Nokia demonstrates live 5G C-band network ahead of US auction

As part of BT’s network transformation, the operator will also utilize Nokia Software’s ng-SDM and NetAct network management platform, supporting the network evolution to 5G. These build upon the existing network architecture and provide an immediate cornerstone and single platform for new 5G-based services. Nokia will also provide its state-of-the-art Cell Site Gateway product providing key backhaul connectivity. 

Nokia Single RAN consists of multipurpose hardware and common software for 2G, 3G, for TD- and FD 4G and 5G technologies. It supports a multitude of hardware sharing options , including radio, fronthaul, baseband, backhaul, OAM, and spectrum. This reduces complexity and increases cost efficiency. Strong security and one common operation and management framework are further benefits. Nokia says Single RAN reduces TCO by over 30%, cuts energy consumption by an average of 44%, and enables remote activation of new RAT in seconds.

Nokia will also provide digital design and deployment for a faster time to market as well as optimization and technical support services.

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.”

See also: Nokia wins mobile technology patent dispute over Daimler
See also: Ofcom joins GSA to access 5G market, technology data
See also: Open RAN market to grow at double-digit rates
See also: O2 touts 5G as key to building a greener UK economy

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