Nokia to provide T-Mobile with 5G infrastructure

Judy Cobb
August 2, 2018

T-Mobile on Monday announced a multi-year agreement with Nokia to implement the Finnish company's 5G equipment in the carrier's US network. (NYSE: VZ) for mobile broadband leadership.

As part of the agreement, Nokia will help build T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network with 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave 5G capabilities compliant with 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standards. T-Mobile has previously projected capital spending on new equipment of around $5 billion for 2018.

T-Mobile, which is the third-largest operator in the USA behind Verizon and AT&T, agreed to merge with rival Sprint in April.

A T-Mobile spokesman said the plan was already baked into the company's capital spending forecast and doesn't replace Ericsson AB, which also sells gear to the wireless operator.

"We are all in on 5G", said Neville Ray, T-Mobile's chief technology officer, in a press release from Nokia.

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The T-Mobile award is critical to Finland's Nokia, whose results have been battered by years of slowing demand for existing 4G networks and mounting investor doubts over whether 5G contracts can begin to boost profitability later this year.

T-Mobile is one of the biggest earners for its parent, Deutsche Telekom of Germany.

Nokia and its Swedish rival Ericsson are in prime positions to benefit from investments in the new infrastructure as their main competitor, China's Huawei Technologies, is all but blocked from supplying equipment to US carriers. The carrier will pay Nokia $3.5 billion for "its complete end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio".

U.S. operators have generally been more aggressive than European service providers when it comes to 5G planning. Verizon is in a similar boat, promising previous year that it would begin to roll out 5G tech during the second half of 2018.

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