Ericsson has survived a tightly-contested race to win a contract to complete BT's 5G deployments in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, and other major cities, even as Huawei continues to warn about the UK suffering billions in losses due to delays in 5G roll-out.
BT, which once heavily relied on Huawei to run its 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the UK, has completed all preparations for a future without the Chinese tech giant by sealing a deal with Ericsson this week to power its 5G network in a number of major UK cities and towns.
Thanks to the agreement, Ericsson will be BT's principal 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment provider in a number of regions and will eventually manage around 50 percent of BT’s 5G traffic. The network equipment provider will also modernise BT's 2G and 4G network equipment to remove all traces of Huawei and will deploy its dual-mode 5G Core (Evolved Packet Core and 5G Core) technology for seamless communications.
The other half of BT's 5G network in the UK will be managed by Nokia which was selected by the telecom giant as its sole 5G RAN vendor for a number of regions in late September. The deal will allow Nokia to deploy its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations, and Nokia AirScale radio access products.
Thanks to the deal, BT's Nokia-powered network will extend from Greater London, the Midlands, and rural locations to multiple other towns and cities such as Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Carlisle, Cheltenham-Gloucester, Chesterfield, Dundee, Exeter, Grimsby, Hull, Ipswich, Lincoln, Newbury, Northampton, Norwich, Peterborough, Plymouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Torbay, and York.
Huawei warns of massive losses to the UK due to a delayed rollout of 5G
Ericsson scoring another major win in the UK took place at the same time when reports from Japan confirmed that Japan's NEC Corporation will participate in the development of 5G networks in the UK. The confirmation arrived after the UK reached out to Japan to request the participation of NEC and Fujitsu Ltd as potential alternative suppliers to Huawei.
Huawei, whose participation in the development of 5G networks in the UK was outlawed earlier this year, continues to throw out facts and figures to demonstrate why the UK's decision to keep it out was a grave mistake.
On the day Ericsson was selected as BT's 5G RAN vendor, Huawei said a delay in the roll-out of 5G in the UK will result in the country "not fully realising £108 billion worth of economic benefit and the creation of 350,000 jobs in regions outside London and the South-East over the next decade".
"A delay in Britain realising its full 5G potential could condemn some parts of the country to the digital slow lane for years to come," the company said by citing an independent report which claimed that a timely rollout of 5G will transform connectivity in far-flung areas, create thousands of jobs, and bring in tremendous economic benefits.
"UK government has set ambitious targets for improved connectivity by 2025. This research reveals how a 3-year delay in 5G roll-out will have a significant economic impact on every part of the UK and highlights the consequences of failing to realise Britain’s full potential. Without global 5G leadership, Britain faces relegation to the digital slow lane, a job creation black hole, and a wider digital divide,” said Victor Zhang, Vice President of Huawei.