T-Mobile US signed a $3.5 billion deal with Nokia for 5G gear for the operator’s nationwide 5G network, which it is expected to launch in 2019. The contract includes Nokia’s AirScale radio platform, cloud-native core, Airframe hardware, and CloudBand software.
The nation’s third-largest carrier has previously said it will deploy 5G in the 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands and it will use equipment based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard.
T-Mobile’s selection of Nokia as one of its 5G vendors isn’t surprising. The company in February said that it would use equipment from Nokia and Ericsson to deploy mobile 5G in 30 markets nationwide. However, this is the first time T-Mobile has mentioned how much it was planning to spend with Nokia on that 5G gear.
“We are all in on 5G,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a statement. “Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we’re making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network.”
T-Mobile is in the midst of acquiring smaller rival Sprint. The deal, which was announced in April, is expected to close in 2019. Both companies positioned the merger as a necessary step for 5G and said they plan to invest up to $40 billion in a new 5G network.
Nokia, meanwhile, is in a race with Ericsson to attain 5G market share. Investors grilled Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri about 5G competition from Ericsson during the company’s second quarter earnings call last week. Ericsson announced earlier that Verizon was expanding its work with the firm on its LTE network and with its 5G deployments. In addition, Ericsson revealed last December that it had been selected by Verizon for the carrier’s pre-standard 5G RAN and core network gear.
Suri downplayed that development, noting that any suggestion that Nokia is losing share is untrue. However, he admitted that although the company does have a strong position with Verizon, it had lost contracts in a “small number” of Verizon markets.