Prepare for wave of 5G wins, first up, Nokia and T-Mobile = $3.5bn

With the US striding confidently and vocally towards 5G, Asia quietly building the enterprise business units and Europe patiently watching for errors, prepare yourself for numerous emails and declarations about 5G customer wins.

Nokia and T-Mobile US are the first for a while to be boasting about 5G, but we think the floodgates are creaking. In all fairness to Nokia, this is certainly a deal worth shouting about. CEO Rajeev Suri has been promising 5G will be the saviour of the lumbering Finnish business, and a $3.5 billion agreement with one of the world’s more aggressive telcos is a good start. More will have to be done to turn the fortunes of the business, but good going.

“Nokia and T-Mobile will advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the United States,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Nokia. “This is a testament to our companies’ strong and productive working relationship, one which has produced several important technological milestones in recent months, and which now allows us to make 5G a commercial reality.”

While the news will come as a welcome relief to a few in and outside of the business, some may wonder whether it is a couple of days too late. While a slight share price decline after quarterly results is nothing to be too surprised about when Nokia is concerned, a couple could ponder whether their investments would have been saved slightly if this announcement had come prior to the earnings call last week. A 10% decline from top to bottom is not necessarily the end of the world, and while some might be slightly miffed about a slight hole in the bank account, such is life occasionally.

As part of the agreement, Nokia will help build T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network, Nokia’s end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio, including commercial AirScale radio platforms and cloud-native core, AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, SON and 5G Acceleration Services. While Nokia will certainly be benefiting from a Huawei shaped hole in the US ecosystem, there have been comments over its ability to provide a full end-to-end solution. The battle between Ericsson and Nokia will be the biggest in the US, though with Nokia’s software capabilities, some might put it just a nose ahead.

The US is a big prize for the vendor who can gain early traction in the market, though we suspect this might be the type of story which runs week on week. 5G spending is almost a reality, and while there might be a few worries CAPEX will not be as high as previously thought, it will come as a welcome relief for though who have been navigating the baron seas between 4G and 5G.

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