U.S. Cellular has inked a multi-year deal with Nokia for 5G tech, as the nation’s fifth largest carrier works to deliver 5G service by the second half of this year.
The news comes less than a week after U.S. Cellular announced a separate deal with Ericsson to use the Swedish telecom vendor’s 5G NR hardware and software for its next-generation network deployment.
The five-year deal with Nokia expands on the pair’s existing relationship and includes end-to-end 5G technology, software and professional services. As with the Ericsson contract, the new Nokia deal builds on 5G trials between the vendor and U.S. Cellular, which took place during the last year.
U.S. Cellular says the deal will help it deliver greater connectivity to customers, as well as expand into new customer and enterprise segments to offer 5G services.
“By keeping U.S. Cellular’s network on the cutting edge, we can continue to deliver the innovation our customers demand, gain new customers and add new revenue models – all with a 5G-ready network,” said Mike Irizarry, EVP and CTO of U.S. Cellular, in a statement. With Nokia’s end-to-end solutions we will have the ability to launch 5G-based services that will provide massive connectivity and enhanced IoT to our customers.”
Both Nokia and Ericsson have been racking up major deals for 5G buildouts, and together control 50 percent of the 5G infrastructure market, according to IHS Markit.
Forbes contributor Stephen McBride noted that last year Nokia sold about $20 billion worth of network equipment and forecasts that figure will jump above $50 billion in the next two years as 5G heats up.