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Nokia trumpets role as BT’s biggest UK vendorNokia trumpets role as BT’s biggest UK vendor

Finnish vendor said new SON deal confirms its dominant position after ousting of Huawei.

Anne Morris

June 2, 2021

3 Min Read
Nokia trumpets role as BT’s biggest UK vendor

Nokia has hailed a new deal with BT as further confirmation that it is now the biggest supplier of network equipment to the UK operator.

The Finnish vendor has been gradually building its presence at BT and mobile network operator EE since last September, when it won the deal to replace Huawei in parts of BT's radio access network (RAN).

Nokia has now announced that EE is deploying its Self-Organizing Network (SON) software solution to enhance network reliability and service in its 4G and 5G networks as part of a new vendor deal.

Figure 1: Big sign: This latest deal with BT confirms Nokia as its number one vendor.  (Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)Big sign: This latest deal with BT confirms Nokia as its number one vendor.
(Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)

It was previously indicated that Nokia will handle about 50% of BT's 5G RAN traffic, with Swedish rival Ericsson responsible for the other half.

Gabriel Brown, a principal analyst with Heavy Reading, said last year that arrangements with BT outside the 5G RAN are responsible for making Nokia the more dominant vendor overall.

"One area where they have done particularly well with BT is core and edge routing," Brown said at the time. "You put that together with this big new RAN deal and it makes them the largest infrastructure partner."

Both Ericsson and Nokia have benefited from the decision by the UK government to gradually remove equipment from China-based vendors in mobile networks.

BT is under pressure to comply with a 35% cap on Huawei in its 5G RAN by January 2023 as a result of measures introduced in 2020 by the Boris Johnson-led government, which regards the Chinese vendor as a security threat.

By 2028, BT and other UK operators will need to have entirely replaced Huawei in their 5G networks.

Go on, my SON

Nokia said the SON product helps operators to manage increased network complexity. The software is designed to automate key network operational tasks and specific SON modules, such as the relationship management of neighboring radio cells, to ensure error-free handovers.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading. "This supports end-users with a better user experience by reducing dropped calls and interruptions," Nokia said in its press release.The vendor added: "Utilizing a Software Development Kit (SDK), EE will be able to create custom SON solutions that are agile, intuitive, and cost-effective to manage its unique multi-vendor, multi-technology network environment without needing to outsource contractors."Nokia boasts that its SON has now been deployed by more than 100 operators around the world. It recently landed a deal with Orange in France, for example. Related posts:Nokia lands 5G deal with BT to start replacing HuaweiBT inks deal to ditch Huawei, use Ericsson RANBT closer to 5G deal with Ericsson and lukewarm on open RANEurobites: Go on my SON, Orange tells Nokia— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Anne Morris

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.

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