Nokia Expands 5G Deal With U.K.’s BT to Fill Huawei Void

A Nokia OYJ ultra deployable 5G Massive MIMO millimeter wave antenna.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Nokia Oyj has extended its relationship with BT Group Plc to supply the British phone company with gear for its high-speed fifth-generation mobile networks.

The deal will make Nokia, BT’s largest provider of radio access equipment — the wireless network’s antennas — the Finnish company said in a statement on Tuesday. BT’s fourth-generation mobile network is currently about two-thirds Huawei Technologies Co. and one-third Nokia.

The network gear maker is filling a void left by Huawei after the U.K. set out rules this year banning the Chinese company from supplying phone companies with 5G equipment and requiring Britain’s carriers to remove all of its 5G gear by 2027.

Read More: U.K. Phone Market Will Be Duopoly for Years After Huawei Ban

BT’s 5G supplier for the sensitive network core is Ericsson AB, and Nokia’s Swedish rival could also win more work from BT as the carrier plans to phase out its Huawei gear.

Nokia currently has an agreement to supply equipment to BT in the greater London area, the Midlands — which covers an area in the middle of England that includes the city of Birmingham — and some other rural parts of the country. The deal announced Tuesday will expanded coverage to areas including Aberdeen, Cambridge and Brighton, Nokia said.

Other U.K. carriers are also busy plotting their post-Huawei futures. CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd’s Three UK recently signed a deal with Ericsson, ripping up its plan to rely on the Chinese vendor.

— With assistance by Kati Pohjanpalo

(Updates with context in sixth paragraph)

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