Nokia and T-Mobile ink $3.5bn 5G network deal

(Image credit: T-Mobile)

Nokia’s hopes of 5G delivering a boost to its revenue sheet are off to a good start thanks to a $3.5 billion network agreement with US operator T-Mobile.

The Finnish telecoms equipment manufacturer will provide end-to-end technology, software and services to the self-styled ‘un-carrier’ during the early stages of 5G rollout.

5G networks will deliver ultrafast speeds, high capacity, and, eventually, ultra-low latency that will power all manner of new applications, such as Virtual Reality, connected cars and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

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T-Mobile 5G Nokia

T-Mobile says its proposed merger with Sprint will accelerate development of 5G in the US, because the combination of its long-range 600MHz spectrum with 28GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) bandwidth will allow for the creation of a truly national network.

It argues its rivals only have mmWave spectrum, which delivers high capacity but has comparatively low range, making it only suitable for urban areas and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband. It is thought that the first 5G networks will go live in the US later this year, with more rollouts in 2019.

The first commercial 5G services in the UK are expected to launch in 2020.

"We are all in on 5G," said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. "Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we're making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network. And together with Sprint, we'll be able to do So. Much. More."

Nokia witnessed a fall in sales during the past quarter and said it believed 5G would help improve matters. It has not changed its outlook, explaining that the T-Mobile deal had already been factored into its earning expectations.

"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."

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.