Nokia scores $450M 5G contract with Taiwan Mobile

Taiwan Mobile plans to deploy 4,000 5G base stations by the end of 2020. (Getty Images)

Nokia has inked a three-year 5G contract with Taiwan Mobile (TWM) as the sole network supplier for the mobile operator’s 5G radio access network (RAN), core and IMS.

The Finnish telecom equipment vendor said the deal is valued at approximately 400 million euros ($449 million).

Taiwan Mobile just recently became the third of Taiwan’s major operators to secure a 5G operating license, with plans to deploy 4,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, according to the Taipei Times. Work with Nokia on the initial phase was slated to start this month, beginning with 5G non-standalone gear. TWM aims to transition to 5G standalone, where the network is no longer relies on 4G LTE, by mid-2023.

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At Taiwan’s spectrum auction in January, TWM secured 60 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band and 200 MHz of millimeter wave spectrum in the 28 GHz band.

Nokia said the deal includes its AirScale Radio Access products, as well as its AirScale Micro Remote Radio Head, enabling capacity and coverage both indoors and outside.  Nokia’s also providing software solutions for cloud and security services, along with network optimization and management for the RAN, core and IMS.

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For 5G standalone core functions, TWM is tapping Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core portfolio, including access and mobility management function, user plane, session management, network function repository, and the network slice selection and policy control functions.

Nokia supplied TWM’s 2G, 3G, and 4G, networks and demoed extended 5g coverage at the Zinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City.

“We are pleased to join forces with Nokia again in the 5G era. After the successful launch of 5G, both sides will continue to advance deployment and provide the best coverage and connectivity experiences in the market,” said Jamie Lin, president at Taiwan Mobile, in a statement. “More importantly, the two companies will work together to promote our 'Super 5G Strategy,' which integrates multiple vertical applications including smart e-commerce, smart stadium, smart healthcare and smart manufacturing.”

Taiwan Mobile’s 5G operating approval followed that of Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom. Far EasTone (FET) President Chee Ching told local media this month that the operator expects to install more than 3,000 5G base stations and aims to cover up to half of the country’s population with 5G by the end of 2020. The operator also has ambitions to be Taiwan’s largest supplier for private networks.

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In March, Far EasTone selected Ericsson as its 5G RAN vendor, spanning its low-, mid- and high-band spectrum assets. The deal includes the Swedish vendor’s dynamic spectrum sharing software AI-based optimization services. According to the Taipei Times FET is buying about $334 million worth of telecom equipment from Ericsson.  

Commercial 5G services from FET, initially using 3.5 GHz spectrum, are expected this summer. FET holds 80 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, compared to the 60 MHz held by Taiwan Mobile, and 90 MHz held by Chunghwa Telecom.

Chunghwa Telecom is using both vendor rivals Nokia and Ericsson to supply gear for its 5G non-standalone buildout. Taiwan’s largest service provider is deploying Ericsson Radio System base stations and Ericsson’s 5G Core products, as well as fronthaul and IP backhaul transport supporting C-RAN architecture.

Nokia’s providing 5G RAN equipment for the Chunghwa Telecom’s deployment in the central and southern region of Taiwan. Chunghwa Telecom should be rolling out 5G service shortly, with a launch planned for July.

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