Proximus dumps Huawei in Luxembourg too

Yet another European mobile network has decided to drop Huawei in favor of a less complicated relationship with a more local vendor.

Proximus, which has already turned to Ericsson and Nokia in its primary market of Belgium, has now also picked Finland-based Nokia for its 5G network in neighboring Luxembourg.

Under a seven-year deal for the Luxembourg network, Nokia said it will supply its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale basestations and Nokia AirScale radio access products.

According to Strand Consult, Proximus was previously 100% reliant on equipment from Huawei for its 4G radio access networks (RAN) in Belgium and Luxembourg.

In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Nokia indicated that it will "replace the incumbent radio vendor in the deal with deployment expected to commence next year."

Orange Luxembourg, also said by Strand Consult to be fully reliant on Huawei equipment for its 4G RAN, has already chosen Nokia for its 5G network. Post Luxembourg, which has not previously used China-based vendors, has retained Sweden-based Ericsson for 5G.

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Although the Luxembourg government does not appear to have banned Huawei from 5G networks, it has clearly been keeping a close eye on the geopolitical situation and the responses of its European neighbors.

According to a report by RTL Luxembourg from August 2020, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, also Minister of Communications, explained that according to Luxembourg law, operators in the Grand Duchy are obliged to ensure the security of their networks.

It would seem that the local operators are taking "geostrategic sensitivity" into account in their selection of vendors, as Bettel suggested they should do.

5G gathers pace

5G services are already available in the Grand Duchy, meanwhile.

Post was the first to launch commercial 5G services in October, followed swiftly by Proximus in the same month and then Orange Luxembourg in November.

Luxembourg's operators acquired 5G-enabling spectrum frequencies in July this year. Orange, Post and Proximus were each awarded one of the three available lots of 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band.

In the 3.6GHz band, Orange and Post each acquired 110MHz of frequencies, Proximus bought 100MHz and telecoms operator Luxembourg Online gained 10MHz. Eltrona participated in the auction but failed to secure spectrum rights.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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