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BT and EE Pick Ericsson to Supply 5G Mobile in Major UK Cities

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 (10:03 am) - Score 2,664
ee_london_5g_antenna_trial

Mobile operator EE (BT) has today unsurprisingly chosen Ericsson to be their new supplier for ultrafast 5G based mobile (mobile broadband) deployments across major UK cities, such as London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and more. The move marks a further step away from Huawei, which has been banned.

At present EE’s 5G network is currently in the process of being deployed across parts of 112 UK towns and cities using a 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz radio spectrum band, although until recently this rollout was dominated by Huawei and some kit from Nokia. But all that changed in July 2020 after the Government’s U-turn to ban “high risk vendorHuawei from future 5G deployments (here) – a decision that is forecast to cost BT £500m and delay their deployment.

The move left Nokia and Ericsson as the two logical alternatives (as above, BT already work with Nokia) and thus most of the UK’s main operators, except O2 (they avoided Huawei), have been having to adapt their deployment plans accordingly. Under today’s deal Ericsson will eventually end up managing around 50% of EE’s total 5G traffic via their new Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure in major UK cities.

The deal also builds on BT’s existing deal, which in April 2020 saw Ericsson being chosen to provide the company’s next-generation cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core network (i.e. Ericsson is now a full end-to-end 5G partner for BT).

Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group, said:

“Our customers deserve the best network and we are delivering. We’re the UK leader in 5G and are excited to be working with Ericsson as a key partner to maintain that market leadership. Through this deal, we will continue to drive the best mobile experiences for our customers. The lightning-fast speeds of 5G will help them to develop their businesses, stream a growing choice of content over our network, and stay in touch with colleagues and friends all over the world.”

We should point out that today’s agreement isn’t just about 5G. The deal will also involve modernising the operator’s existing 2G and 4G Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure, which BT claims will enhance both the customer experience and network performance for their customers (some of this may be a necessity given the loss of Huawei from the market).

Ericsson’s RAN platform technology should also further help to reduce the company’s energy consumption. The new kit also supports Spectrum Sharing, which should enable BT to dynamically share 4G and 5G traffic to support a smooth and cost-effective migration to 5G.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar fyfan says:

    Let’s hope they remember to renew their SSL certs on time and not take down an entire UK mobile network.

  2. Avatar Michael V says:

    There’s also Samsung they could have chosen, but Samsung apparently only provide the software, RAN & everything a network needs for 4G & 5G. Not 3G-HSPA & 2G-EDGE anymore.
    I read it in some press release somewhere earlier this year

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The Government are trying to encourage other suppliers, such as Samsung, to take a more end-to-end approach in the UK market (among other required changes). But it remains to be seen whether that effort will result in a supplier change, which could be difficult to achieve at this stage of the deployment when operators are trying to move forward (they can’t afford to wait).

  3. Avatar cdh1981 says:

    Great, now the Swedes will be “snooping our data”. 😉

    1. Avatar Mark weins says:

      Make everyone snus adddicts?

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