French telecommunications group Iliad announced it has selected Finnish vendor Nokia as its strategic partner for its 5G network deployments in France and Italy.
The vendor has been working with Iliad since 2010 and has participated in the telco’s deployments of 3G and 4G networks.
“By deciding to team up with Nokia, the Group has made a clear choice for European technology and strategic independence,” an Iliad spokesperson said.
Iliad announced plans to begin its 5G rollout in 2020 and will eventually provide 5G services to 17 million subscribers in France and Italy. In addition to its consumer offering, Iliad will also launch enterprise 5G services in both markets.
The European operator has 13.4 million mobile subscribers in France and an additional 3.3 million subscribers in Italy.
Rival operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SFR are also expecting to launch 5G services in France during 2020. French telecoms regulator Arcep has announced plans to carry out an auction process to award 5G spectrum later this year.
Nokia has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Thailand’s biggest mobile network operator, AIS, to develop a series of 5G use cases with the aim of promoting 5G in a variety of industry verticals.
AIS signed similar agreements with Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei. Thailand’s mobile network operators are expecting to launch commercial 5G network services in the second half of 2020. AIS serves nearly 40 million subscribers in Thailand, accounting for around 45% of the Thai mobile market.
The Finnish vendor also announced it has been conducting millimeter wave trials with Russian telco MTS in preparation for the carriers’s 5G launch in 2020.
Nokia highlighted that MTS has achieved speeds of 2.1Gbps in its latest mmWave 5G trials.
During the 5G trial, the Russian carrier used Nokia’s AirScale mmWave Radio equipment and a Samsung S10 5G handset.
“Not long ago we were testing 5G equipment the size of a closet, and today, together with our partners, we showcased a 5G smartphone operating under typical user conditions that externally is indistinguishable from a regular 4G device,” said Inessa Galaktionova, MTS VP for Telecommunications. “The first 5G smartphones and routers will go on sale in MTS stores providing our customers the ability to realize the benefits of this next-generation standard by using the high-speed mobile connectivity and digital services provided by MTS’s 5G pilot networks.”
Russian operators are expected to launch commercial 5G services in the first half of 2020.
Nokia recently confirmed it has already secured a total of 45 commercial 5G contracts globally. Some of the customers in the 5G field include AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, du, KT, LG Uplus, Ooredoo, Optus, Sprint, SoftBank, SK Telecom, Telenor Group, Telia Company, Three UK, T-Mobile US, US Cellular and Vodafone Italy.