Nokia wins five-year sole vendor 5G deal with Elisa Estonia

Comms tech provider replaces incumbent supplier in enabling Baltic telco to swap out existing 4G network nationwide with 5G AirScale portfolio and develop O-RAN ecosystem

Nokia has been selected by Elisa Estonia to supply the fundamental technology for a 5G RAN across the Baltic country, replacing the existing 4G infrastructure.

In the five-year deal, Nokia will be the sole technology provider, replacing the incumbent supplier, with deployment expected to begin early in 2022 after completion of Estonia’s spectrum auction in early 2022.

Under the deal, Nokia will provide equipment from its latest ReefShark system-on-chip-powered AirScale equipment portfolio covering Elisa’s nationwide radio network. Nokia’s AirScale RAN portfolio is designed for “plug-in” deployment and reduced power consumption, covering all deployment scenarios, including dense urban environments and wide-area coverage.

The deal will also see Nokia and Elisa co-operate in developing an Open RAN ecosystem. Nokia is a strong supporter of both Open RAN and the O-RAN Alliance and was the first major supplier to join. It is also a contributor to the alliance’s technical work and working groups.

“We have huge ambitions for providing state-of-the-art entertainment and communications services to our customers underpinned by a 5G network,” said Andrus Hiiepuu, CEO at Elisa Estonia. “Nokia is our trusted partner for this and will help us to deliver a sustainable 5G business. Their technology and innovation will help us to differentiate in the market and I look forward to working closely with them on this project.”

Nokia Mobile Networks president Tommi Uitto said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Elisa Estonia in this deal and for their trust in our technology leadership. Our AirScale portfolio will deliver cutting-edge connectivity to their customers and I look forward to working closely with them on this project and beyond.”

The deal will also see Nokia maintain a longstanding partnership with Elisa Corporation. It was selected as a nationwide supplier of 5G RAN in 2020, supporting its efforts to digitise Finland and make it a leading global 5G market.

The telco announced in June 2020 that it had made substantial emissions and energy reductions by using Nokia’s liquid-cooling 5G AirScale base station system, and then in November 2020 the companies demonstrated delivering 8Gbps for the first time, achieved by utilising Nokia’s 5G mmWave technology and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G smartphone form factor test devices over Elisa’s commercial 5G network.

The base station utilised two Nokia AirScale radios, each using 800MHz of commercial millimetre wave (mmWave) 5G spectrum at 26GHz. These provided connectivity to two 5G smartphone form factor test devices powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System featuring second-generation Qualcomm QTM525 mmWave antenna modules, with each device reaching 4Gbps peak speeds from the base station.

The ultra-high-speed mobile connection is designed to support and enable more high-bandwidth and latency-sensitive enterprise services across Finland, such as remotely controlled devices for industrial needs or mission-critical applications.

“This is an important development and another step in our efforts to bring the fastest speeds and best 5G experiences to our customers,” said Elisa executive vice-president, production Sami Komulainen at the time. “Elisa was the first in Finland and among the first in the world to deploy 5G. Reaching 8Gbps is a natural step in our 5G development and we want to explore the possibilities that 5G offers and push the technology further to benefit our customers.”

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