Vodafone Chooses Nokia As Partner For 5G Toll Out In Australia

Vodafone Hutchison has teamed up with Nokia to construct the high-speed 5G mobile network in Australia. The mobile service provider will be supplied with the telecommunication equipment for the new network by Nokia with the plans or phasing out the use of equipment from the banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei from a number of parts of the new network. The two companies have signed a five-year deal.

The 5G network would be underway in 2020, said Vodafone chief executive Iñaki Berroeta. This will help Vodafone to better compete with its rivals Singtel Optus and Telstra – with both the companies already in the process of construction of their own 5G networks in the country.

2019 has not been a good year for Vodafone and hence its chief executive Iñaki Berroeta is now pressing ahead with a quick rollout of the new 5G mobile network.

Vodafone has so far been able to install 5G equipment in Parramatta and has been testing out the facility in partnership with Nokia just before the signing of the agreement. These will be the first sites available for the mobile provider’s customers.

“The rollout will start as we begin the year and we’ll begin offering services to customers in first half of 2020,” Berroeta said.

The banning of Chinese telecom equipment companies by the Australian government over national security concerns preventing such companies from participating in the construct of the local 5G rollouts on security grounds has been on the issues that the telecommunications companies have been said had complicated their 5G roll out efforts. The ban also included the largest telecommunication equipment maker of the world Huawei which has been supply telecom equipment to the likes of Vodafone, Optus and TPG Telecom for many years.

In July this year, the decision of the Australian government to ban the Shenzhen-based technology equipment giant Huawei has been criticized by China and in a complaint to the World Trade Organisation, Beijing had argued that the ban form 5G networks was effectivel being extended to exclude the company from the existing 4G sites and networks.

There would not be any “cross-systems” between Nokia and Huawei at the sites where 5G would be installed, Berroeta confirmed. “The roll out will be based on where we see higher demand for capacity and speeds, which is mainly metropolitan … As we implement 5G we will be switching Huawei products to Nokia,” he said.

“What is clear is that at one point we were ahead on 5G rollout and the decision led by government to ban Huawei has definitely set us back 12 months. We have to catch up,” he said.

Some of the telecom companies initially had planned to make use of the existing 4G networks for rolling out 5G services instead of creating completely new systems.

“The benefit we have is that the penetration of 5G devices is still limited and it will be for the rest of 2020,” Berroeta said.

(Adapted from SMH.com.au)

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