Vodafone Australia goes with Nokia for 5G build

Latest generation mobile network to start to be switched on in first six months of 2020.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Vodafone Hutchison Australia has announced just prior to the new year that it will go with Nokia to supply 5G equipment.

In a statement on Monday, Vodafone said it would begin to switch on its first 5G sites "in and around" Parramatta over the coming months, which previously made up a test network.

"We started our 5G journey with Vodafone in 2016 and are now moving from trials to reality. Nokia's end-to-end portfolio has a key role to play here, with this deal including 5G radio access network, IP/optical, microwave, deployment and managed services, as well as software," Nokia president of EMEA and APAC customer operations Federico Guillén said.

The agreement between the pair is set to run over 5 years, with Vodafone adding the deal will allow it to place orders for site delivery with Nokia, and that it can reuse its existing 4G spectrum for 5G with the Finnish equipment manufacturer.

Vodafone previously used Huawei equipment in its 4G network, but the ban placed on the Chinese equipment manufacturer for use in 5G networks by the Australian government meant the telco needed to look elsewhere for its next upgrade.

"We have been preparing for the evolution of 5G for a long time," Vodafone Australia CEO Iñaki Berroeta said.

"Our focus has always been to deliver the best possible mobile service for our customers. With 5G devices only just starting to become more widely available, now is the right time to start rolling out 5G. We're excited to continue this journey with Nokia."

Vodafone is currently in the midst of a court battle to have its merger with TPG approved, following the opposition of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to the deal.

In January, TPG made the decision to abandon its mobile network build in Australia, and cop a AU$230 million accounting hit as a result.

TPG said the decision was made due to the ban on Huawei 5G equipment. The telco said it had purchased equipment for 1,500 sites, as well as 900 fully or partially completed small cell sites.

In August, Huawei said it had cut 100 jobs in Australia, and over the next five years the number could rise as high as 400 redundancies thanks to the ban placed on it.

Just over three months later, Huawei has decided to factor in a number of jobs of local contractors and subcontractors to come up with a total of 1,500 jobs by the end of next year.

Earlier this year, Vodafone New Zealand signed a deal with Nokia for 5G equipment.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

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