Having announced that Nokia was supplying 5G base stations and antennas for EE 5G customers earlier this year, BT has now revealed that it will partner with Ericsson to replace Huawei's equipment in its "core", following the UK ban on Chinese products being used in critical 5G infrastructure earlier this year.
Not surprisingly, having had its fingers burned thanks to its relationship with Huawei, BT was reluctant to choose a single telecoms kit provider for its 5G rollout, preferring to share its business between Nokia and Ericsson.
“Our customers deserve the best network and we are delivering,” said Philip Jansen, CEO at BT. “We’re the UK leader in 5G and are excited to be working with Ericsson as a key partner to maintain that market leadership. Through this deal, we will continue to drive the best mobile experiences for our customers. The lightning-fast speeds of 5G will help them to develop their businesses, stream a growing choice of content over our network, and stay in touch with colleagues and friends all over the world.”
Ericsson’s 5G Radio Access Network
Ericsson’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) will be used to connect BT and EE customers in the UK’s capitals: London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, as well as other major cities.
“BT has a clear direction in how it wants to drive its 5G ambitions in the UK and we are delighted to be their partner in delivering that,” said Börje Ekholm, president and CEO at Ericsson. “Having already been selected to partner in 5G core, we are pleased to strengthen the relationship further with this deal that will deliver high performance and secure 5G to their customers across the UK’s major cities. By deploying 5G in these key areas, we are yet again demonstrating our technology leadership in population-dense and high traffic locations.”
Ericsson will become a key 5G partner for BT, managing around 50 percent of the company’s 5G traffic, whilst also modernizing BT’s existing 2G and 4G Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure. This deal is additional to BT’s selection of Ericsson’s 5G Core product earlier in April 2020, and it makes Ericsson an end-to-end 5G partner for BT.
“5G plays a critical role in meeting the UK’s Digital ambitions, accelerating digitalization of the economy and stimulating next generation wireless innovation for consumers and enterprise,” said Ekholm. “With leading 5G technology, a robust supply chain capability, and more than 120 years of local presence in the UK, we’re committed to rolling out a reliable and secure 5G network alongside BT.”