The rollout will commence in the first half of 2020. A court decision on whether to allow Vodafone and TPG Telecom to merge is expected in February next year, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission knocked back the merger which was announced in August last year.
In a statement issued by Nokia on Monday, Vodafone chief executive Iñaki Berroeta said: "This is an exciting milestone in Vodafone’s 5G network rollout.
“We have worked with Nokia for several years across different elements of our network. They presented a compelling roadmap that aligned with our 5G objectives and will help us to continue improving our 4G network for our customers.
Vodafone had only one other choice, the Swedish firm Ericsson, after the Federal Government banned Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE from playing any role in 5G in the country.
The statement said the Vodafone-Nokia agreement would be for a minimum of five years and would give the telco the flexibility to increase or decrease the pace of its 5G rollout as it wished.
Vodafone's first lot of 5G sites are expected to be switched on in and around Paramatta, with these site having been originally used for a test network.
Federico Guillén, president, Customer Operations EMEA & APAC at Nokia, said the company was pleased to be further strengthening its relationship with Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
“We are delighted to be working closer with Vodafone Hutchison Australia on transforming its network to deliver superior 5G services to its customers,” he said.
“We started our 5G journey with Vodafone in 2016 and are now moving from trials to reality. Nokia’s end-to-end portfolio has a key role to play here, with this deal including 5G radio access network (RAN), IP/Optical, Microwave, deployment and managed services, as well as software.”
TPG suspended work on its 5G mobile network in January, after the Huawei ban made it impossible to continue. The company had spent about $100 million on gear before deciding to give up.
Had the network been set up, it would have been the fourth in Australia and is likely to have led to a price war, with customers set to benefit.
There has been no word from TPG on the Vodafone announcement.