Telenor taps Ericsson for 5G network, dumping Huawei

Telecom operator Telenor has selected Ericsson for building its 5G radio access network (RAN) in Norway.
Verizon 5G network by EricssonTelenor did not select China-based Huawei, which is facing high scrutiny in the wake of security concerns, for the 5G network. Huawei is the low cost supplier of telecom network to mobile operators worldwide. Huawei is the existing partner of Telenor Norway for its 3G and 4G networks.

“We have been through a thorough process to evaluate all the main vendors’ ability to deliver on Telenor’s requirements for the future mobile network. Based on the evaluation, we have decided to introduce a new partner for this important technology shift in Norway,” Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.

Telenor has considered factors like technical quality, ability to innovate and modernise the network, commercial terms and conditions, as well as carried a security evaluation for the selection of the vendor for the 5G radio access network.

Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and ZTE did not win the 5G network contract from Telenor Norway.

“As the first mobile operator on 5G in Scandinavia, Telenor will ramp up the roll out of 5G to our customers in Norway in 2020. The full modernisation of the mobile network in Norway is an ambitious undertaking, and something we are excited to get started on,” said Petter-Borre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Norway.

The modernisation will take 4-5 years. Due to this, Telenor will use equipment from existing RAN vendor Huawei to maintain the 4G network and also upgrade to 5G coverage in selected areas of Norway. This is to ensure that Telenor Norway’s customers have the most optimal user experience and can continue to enjoy a fast and reliable mobile network during the modernisation.

The radio access network represents the outer layer of the mobile network ensuring the end customer connectivity. The inner layer, represented by the core network, is being upgraded through agreements with Nokia and Ericsson, as previously announced.

The core network is where the services to the customers are produced and they are delivered over the radio access network. The full mobile network, including core, is planned, operated and managed by Telenor Norway.

Telenor is in the midst of the process of building 5G in the city of Trondheim. Since 2018, Telenor has launched 5G pilots in a number of locations in the Nordics and Asia. The testing is carried out with the main network vendors to evaluate what different technology solutions are available, and to identify Telenor’s own requirements for the new 5G network.

Currently, the Telenor Group is testing 5G in ten locations in Norway as well as selected areas in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Thailand and Malaysia.

Recent 5G deals

State-controlled Telenor is Norway’s biggest telecoms provider, and is active in the rest of the Nordic region as well as five Asian countries, serving some 183 million customers.

The use of Huawei network components in Norway will be phased out over a 4-5 year modernisation period, the head of Telenor Norway, Petter-Boerre Furberg, told Reuters.

Huawei has rejected claims that its 5G networks could be used as spy tools, and China has accused Washington of using security arguments to further politicize a conflict that is fundamentally about trade.

Telefonica Deutschland has picked Nokia of Finland and Huawei to build its 5G network, seeking to get work moving even though Germany has yet to finalise security rules on equipment suppliers.

Two smaller firms, Ice and Telia, have selected Nokia and Ericsson respectively for their Norwegian 5G networks.

Baburajan K