Nokia clinches deals with operators in China

Nokia signed contracts with China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. (Pixabay)

Nokia has signed three separate frame contracts for a combined value of more than $2.3 billion, with each of China’s mobile operators: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

The announcement, which was released during Nokia's 2018 Global Analyst Forum in Murray Hill, New Jersey, this week, comes as China’s major operators prepare for their large-scale commercial launch of 5G by 2020.

Under the agreements, Nokia will deliver radio and fixed access equipment, SDN and NFV products, as well as IP routing and optical transport gear and services, through the end of 2019.

“We are excited to continue our close collaboration with these important customers in China, to drive new levels of network performance as they transition toward 5G,” Mike Wang, president of Nokia Shanghai Bell, said in a press release. “Leveraging the breadth of our end-to-end network and services capabilities, we will work closely with China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom to deploy technologies that meet their specific business needs."

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Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri told FierceWirelessTech in September that the company’s end-to-end portfolio gives it an advantage over competitors, especially in 5G, and that’s what it appears to be leveraging here. He also reiterated that Nokia would continue to focus on getting the right balance in China between market share and financial performance and wouldn’t try to gain market share at any cost.

For China Mobile, Nokia will deliver technologies and expertise across China in the areas of radio access, core, passive optical networks, IP routing and optical transport, SDN, network management and professional services. 

At China Telecom, Nokia said it will support the operator’s quest to improve countrywide 4G LTE coverage and hot spot capacity. Nokia will provide its end-to-end portfolio and solutions for China Telecom, including FDD-LTE radio access, home CPE solutions, core routers, multiservice edge routers and optics as well as services. Both parties will also “enhance 5G cooperation and accelerate China's 5G progress.”

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For China Unicom, Nokia said it will help deploy technologies across the country including Nokia FDD-LTE radio access, multi-access edge computing (MEC), virtualized IMS, SDN, IP routing and optical transport, and fixed network equipment. China Unicom aims to enhance network quality and capacity to grow its 4G LTE customer base, while researching and developing the expansion of IoT services and the evolution to 5G, including the use of artificial intelligence in networks.

Separately, Nokia announced that along with China Unicom, it has created a private LTE network for a BMW Brilliance Automotive plant being built in the Liaoning province of China. That deployment uses the Nokia virtualized MEC solution that will leverage China Unicom’s LTE network to provide low-latency support for smart manufacturing activities at the plant.