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Nokia confirms it’s replacing the ‘incumbent vendor’ in Swedish 5G deal

Nokia has announced that it will provide the equipment for some – it’s statement implies quite a lot – of Net4Mobility’s 5G rollout in Sweden.

The Finnish vendor said it has brokered a five-year deal with the mobile operator, a joint venture between Telenor and Tele2, to deploy kit from its AirScale portfolio.

The thing is, Nokia hasn’t really told us anything we didn’t already know. Net4Mobility announced when it won 3.5 GHz spectrum in Sweden in January that it had finalised its vendor procurement process and would use Nokia and Ericsson for the rollout. That was bigger – although also largely expected – news, since the selection of the two big European players meant the end of the road for Net4Mobility’s legacy vendor Huawei.

Sweden is, of course, one of a handful of countries to issue an outright ban on Huawei in 5G networks, but a legal challenge from the Chinese is ongoing. But that’s a digression…

“Nokia will replace the incumbent vendor with deployment already underway,” it said, diplomatically.

Nokia said it has been selected by Net4Mobility “to roll out commercial 5G services across significant areas of Sweden.” It did not provide further details on the actual extent of that coverage area. Nor did it – understandably – share what Ericsson’s position in the rollout might be. It is a likely a similar announcement from the Swedish vendor will be forthcoming.

The deal will improve legacy 4G performance while increasing capacity with 5G services introduced at the majority of sites within awarded areas, Nokia said. It added that Net4Mobility will also “take advantage” of the 3.5 GHz frequencies it won at the auction for dense urban coverage. Essentially, Nokia will rip out Huawei’s 4G network, replace it with its own kit, and add some new sites over the course of the contract. New sites will amount to “a significant number” per year, apparently.

“5G is already available in our biggest cities and we aim to offer the service to 99.9% of Sweden’s population by the end of 2023. We are delighted to extend our partnership with Nokia and have them as one of our vendors going into the 5G era,” said Jonas Edén, CTO of Telenor Sweden, in a canned statement.

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