Japanese telco KDDI goes with Nokia and Ericsson for 5G

Its first set of commercial 5G services are expected to go live in March 2020.

Japanese telco KDDI announced on Monday it had selected both Nokia and Ericsson as "primary vendors" for its 5G network.

Nokia, which has a relationship with KDDI going back two decades, said the telco would use its AirScale solution to modernise its 4G network and also allow for 5G.

"Nokia is an existing supplier to KDDI across multiple technologies, including radio, fixed networks, mobile core network, and multiple software solutions," the Finnish telco equipment vendor said.

"The 5G network will support KDDI across both cmWave and mmWave 5G frequency bands, and can be deployed in both distributed and centralised architectures."

Ericsson, which has been working with KDDI since 2013, scored a deal to supply radio access network equipment.

"KDDI expects the first commercial live 5G services to be available from March 2020, with more than 93% coverage of 5G base station areas specified by Japan's telecom regulation body by the end of March 2025," the Swedish vendor said.

KDDI and Ericsson signed a 5G research and development agreement in November 2015.

Earlier this year, Japanese telco giant SoftBank similarly signed up both Nokia and Ericsson for 5G deployments.

At the end of last year, the Japanese government took steps to prevent equipment made by Huawei and ZTE from being used in public procurement contracts.

Last week, Ericsson said it had set aside 12 billion Swedish krona -- approximately $1 billion -- relating to investigations into its compliance with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

An investigation by the SEC looked into a four-year period that ended in the first quarter of 2017, and according to Ericsson, revealed breaches of the FCPA and its code of business ethics in six countries: China, Djibouti, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.

"Over the last two years we have operationally turned around our company and established a strong portfolio and competitive cost structure," president and CEO Börje Ekholm said last Thursday. "With today's announcement, we confront another legacy issue and take the next step in resolving it.

"We have to recognise that the company has failed in the past and I can assure you that we work hard every day to build a stronger Ericsson, where ethics and compliance are cornerstones in how we conduct business."

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