Nokia has signed a total of 42 commercial 5G deals around the globe, which it claims is more than any other vendor has publicly announced.
The news comes after Nokia reported weak Q1 2019 earnings in April. At the time, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said that the company was unable to recognize approximately €200 million ($247 million) of net sales related to 5G deliveries, mainly in North America, due to what Suri described as the “evolving readiness of the 5G ecosystem.” But the company expected its 5G business weakness to improve in the second half of 2019.
Nokia seems to be in the midst of that turnaround now. The company said it has signed about one 5G commercial deal per week since the end of March, and claims to have a “steady pipeline” for future agreements. It said it’ll announce new 5G deals with operators in India and Latin America in the coming months.
“The pace of 5G progress is accelerating across the globe,” Suri said in a statement.
In North America, Nokia is supplying 5G gear to Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, and it has been a longtime supplier to Sprint. Although Sprint touted Ericsson's gear in its recent rollout of 5G to its first four cities. Earlier this year, carrier U.S. Cellular tapped Nokia for 5G network upgrades, and the Canadian government gave Nokia $40 million to establish a new Nokia Bell Lab in Canada for expanding 5G R&D.
Still, market research from Dell’Oro Group in 2018 indicated that Ericsson has been increasing its lead over Nokia in 5G in North America. Nokia admitted to losing a few Verizon markets to a competitor, but Suri has maintained confidence in Nokia’s end-to-end 5G offerings, bolstered by its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016.