Nokia bags 5G small-cell deal with Chunghwa Telecom

Nokia grabbed another 5G deal in Taiwan, this time with Chunghwa Telecom (CHT). The small-cell contract award comes hard on the heels of 5G wins with Taiwan Mobile and Asia-Pacific Telecom (APT), as well as a 5G RAN contract from CHT earlier in the year.

CHT is also buying RAN equipment from Ericsson, and using the Swedish supplier as its sole provider of 5G core equipment (Ericsson is mopping up a fair bit of 5G business in Taiwan, too). But the operator opted for Nokia when it came to a 5G non-standalone (NSA) small cells solution: the AirScale indoor Radio (ASiR), for better indoor coverage and capacity, and the AirScale micro RRH, for outdoor and urban hot spots. Coverage is aimed at specific areas, such as business and tourist districts.

Nokia says deployment has already started, and that around 140 5G small cells are in place. The extent and timing of future rollouts were not made clear, but deployment will apparently "complement" CHT's existing base of over 2,500 sets of 4G small cells.

CHT is clearly a big fan of the Finnish vendor's small-cell kit. "We are an existing customer of Nokia's 4G small cells portfolio and had no hesitation in also adopting their 5G products for the first wave of deployment," enthused Dr Max Chen, president of CHT's mobile division.

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Nokia's contract with Taiwan Mobile, estimated to be worth a hefty €400 million ($449.6 million), sees the Finnish vendor supply 5G RAN, core and IMS solutions. The APT deal covers both 5G RAN and core, although the contract value was not disclosed.

FarEasTone, one of Taiwan’s "big three" mobile network operators – the other two are CHT and Taiwan Mobile – awarded Ericsson a 5G RAN contract in March.

Ton up

Helped no doubt by Huawei's loosening grip on 5G markets outside of China, Nokia recently announced that it signed 17 new 5G commercial deals in the third quarter, taking its total tally up to 100.

The Finnish vendor also claimed to have notched up a total of 160 "commercial 5G engagements," which include paid trials.

Arguably its biggest 5G win during Q3 was a major deal with BT, the UK telco incumbent, which will see it replace Huawei in parts of the operator's radio access network and make it, Nokia says, BT's largest network supplier.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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