BT selects Ericsson as 5G partner for major UK cities

By William Smith
British telecommunications giant BT has selected Ericsson as an infrastructure partner for major UK cities including London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Card...

British telecommunications giant BT has selected Ericsson as an infrastructure partner for major UK cities including London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

The announcement of Ericsson as BT’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) provider builds on an earlier deal to provide other 5G Core infrastructure, with the result being Ericsson will manage 50% of BT’s 5G traffic.

In a press release, Philip Jansen, CEO, BT, said: “Our customers deserve the best network and we are delivering. 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.”

The context is the UK’s decision to ban market leader Huawei from its 5G network. Spearheaded by US government concerns about its allies using Chinese technology for critical infrastructure, a number of countries have decided to ban Huawei from 5G networking. The UK originally decided in January to allow Huawei technology into non “core” elements of its 5G network. In July, however, the UK reversed this decision, saying that all Huawei technology was to be removed by 2027 at the latest.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “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. 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 and other western companies have accordingly been stepping up to fill the gap left by Huawei’s absence. In July, Ericsson delivered its first ever US-manufactured 5G base station to telecommunications giant Verizon. 

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