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Belgium says bye-bye Huawei, hello Nokia

The two largest Belgian CSPs have announced a wholesale swap-out of Huawei gear in their RAN, in favour of Nokia.

Both Proximus and Orange Belgium are currently heavily invested in Huawei for their radio access network, which they share. After a supposedly ‘thorough competitive process, based on technological, operational and financial criteria,’ (both operators used that exact language in their respective press releases) they concluded that they wanted nothing more to do with the embattled Chinese vendor.

The big beneficiary is Nokia, which now gets the whole RAN gig for the combined network. Not only is this a big win for Nokia in its own right, but it also marks a significant competitive victory over Ericsson, which is usually considered the stronger RAN player. As a consolation prize Ericsson gets the 5G core work, which seems to just be a continuation of its existing deals anyway.

“The decision to collaborate with Nokia and Ericsson is crucial in the execution of our network strategy,” said Proximus CTO Geert Standaert. “Together, we will work hard to build a best-in-class, open, reliable and sustainable mobile network to the benefit of the whole country. Along with the strong acceleration of our fiber roll-out, this modernization will help us realize our ambition to build the best Gigabit network for Belgium.”

“We are thrilled to start a new partnership with Nokia to roll out a best-in-class, energy-efficient and future-proof mobile radio access network in Belgium, based on the core network provided by Ericsson, in order to ensure the best user experience for residential and business customers, be it on 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G,” said Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium.

“We are proud to support Orange Belgium in building a cutting-edge Single RAN and 5G network in Belgium,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Nokia Mobile Networks. “As the sole radio supplier for this 5G network evolving to stand alone mode, we are providing Nokia’s AirScale radio covering the whole 3.5 Ghz spectrum, offering ultra-broadband to Orange subscribers. He said similar stuff about Proximus.

“The core is a crucial part of any network,” insisted Ericsson’s President of Europe and Latin America. “With decades of experience and live 5G networks all over the world, Proximus has chosen Ericsson to deliver reliable, sustainable and secure connectivity. Our cloud-native solutions mean an efficient transition to a future-proof network, and with our leading 5G portfolio, we are ready to support the market leaders in Belgium to deliver 5G.” We could find no Ericsson comment on the Orange deal.

While Ericsson will be licking its wounds, this is clearly another nail in the coffin for Huawei in Europe. All it can offer in response is its now standard canned comments about loving competition, which are about as convincing as the Proximus and Orange insistence that this was a purely competitive process. Nokia may have beaten Ericsson on merit but, as Light Reading notes, security and politics will have played a mayor part in the decision to ditch Huawei.

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11 comments

  1. Avatar Steve 09/10/2020 @ 1:04 pm

    And the big loosers are the end users. Nokia is just 2 years behind Huawei in 5G race. They should have chosen Ericsson at least…

    • Avatar random123 09/10/2020 @ 5:59 pm

      i work for huawei, trust me when i say there products are inferior compare to nokia. For scalability testing, they use nokia and ericsson as reference. DO NOT BELEIVE WHAT CHINESE COMPANY TELLS U.

    • Avatar Moazzam 09/10/2020 @ 8:09 pm

      Ericsson is a thing of past. Nokia rocks and a true leader for 5G networks.

  2. Avatar Apostle Rasaq Jesse Saliu 09/10/2020 @ 2:41 pm

    Who will want to do business with a rogue country like China. Some Chinese government is known to steal technologies from Russian and American companies, who knows the extent their crimes will take them. Be wise.

  3. Avatar Abubaker Farooq 09/10/2020 @ 2:53 pm

    Why is everyone so biased to USA and against Huawei???
    USA has been a tech center for globe and never ever anybody has claimed them of data theft which they do in reality..
    Basically us fears Huawei and China’s dominance in tech and especially 5g world. And the idiot president of USA has done a lot insane activities which would left many jobless and revenue of billions would be wiped out.
    We should consider Huawei again in this race….if it poses security threat u can supervise them with your team for your country’s data. That’s all

  4. Avatar Rainer Haseneder 10/10/2020 @ 9:03 am

    @Steve How do you measure that Huawei is leading by two years ?

    • Avatar happiman 15/10/2020 @ 5:52 am

      For Chinese everything is “two year, 两年” LOL

  5. Avatar R 10/10/2020 @ 2:14 pm

    I wonder if Nokia has lowered the profit margin to bare minimum to get this contract

    • Avatar A 12/10/2020 @ 9:39 am

      This is what I’m wondering too. Nokia had some issues and didn’t win many contracts. But lately they have won many contracts. There must be some reason for it. I don’t think they can change the tech that fast so I assume they have started to offer lower prices. Does anyone have any insights?

  6. Avatar Victor 12/10/2020 @ 1:23 pm

    Clearly how to see that every country in the world is following the US as a leading sheep. I must admit that the telco products from Huawei are not the high end neither top of the bill within the Telco industry. For what I have understood is that Huawei is still be a part of the Chinese government and they are receiving subventions from their government in exchange for data. What I hope is that KPN in the Netherlands will change their minds to step over from Huawei to Ericsson or Nokia where they have in the past good experiences with their products. But in the end the providers in the Netherlands are still deciding which supplier can give the highest discount on the radio equipment. The dutch government can only advise based on Intel information and is no mandotory for the providers to follow their advise.

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