Monday, 30 December 2019 22:02

Vodafone picks Nokia to roll out 5G in Australia Featured

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Vodafone picks Nokia to roll out 5G in Australia Pixabay

Vodafone Hutchison Australia has announced that it would team up with Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia to build its 5G network in the country, with the announcement coming well ahead of a court decision on a challenge against a bid to block its merger with TPG Telecom.

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.

“Their knowledge of our network is extensive, and they are in the best position to ensure a seamless transition and that we reach our 5G goals as soon as possible while maintaining the best experience for our 4G 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.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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