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EE taps NSN for next phase of LTE rollout

UK operator EE has called on NSN to supply technology for the next phase of its LTE rollout. NSN will provide EE with its Single RAN Advanced solution, enabling EE to run different radio technologies using single, multi-purpose hardware.

The vendor will supply its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations, its cloud-ready NetAct to efficiently manage the network across technologies and an IP Security solution for secure IP communication between LTE base stations and core network sites in EE’s network.

The operator had called on Huawei for its LTE network management and said that the Chinese vendor will continue adding more sites to the areas that it has covered so far, which represents around 70 per cent of the population. NSN will work on the next 25 per cent of the population, EE added.

The firm also said that this is the first deal it has done through MBNL, its shared network joint venture with rival 3UK, that doesn’t actively involve its JV partner.

“This is about network differentiation from 3UK, and the others, so is very different from the previous network share arrangements,” an EE spokesman told Telecoms.com.

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Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, added that the partnership “highlights our approach to maintaining a differentiated 4G network experience”.

“We have selected NSN because of their technology, their people, and because of their ability to provide a high quality end-to-end services model,” he said.

The operator also pointed out that Samsung, which is 3UK’s LTE RAN equipment vendor, still has to install and activate kit at every site from which 3UK wants to deliver LTE.

In November last year, MBNL installed a new management team as the organisation shifted from the integration of the various UK networks held by its parents to an operational and cost-control model. Graham Payne, MBNL’s managing director and financial director Brian More O’Ferrall, were replaced by Pat Coxen of EE and Gervase King of 3UK.

In June last year, Swedish vendor Ericsson announced it had been selected to manage operations and maintenance of MBNL’s consolidated radio access network (RAN).

The vendor is delivering central operations and transmission, network performance and optimisation, field services, and multi-vendor spare parts management services under a five year contract. It will also manage EE’s and Three UK’s 4G LTE RAN networks, deployed by Huawei and Samsung respectively.

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