As part of its Q4 2019 earnings report, Bell announced that it’s partnering with Finland-based Nokia for 5G network equipment.
“As part of our mobile 5G strategy, Bell today announced our first 5G network equipment supplier agreement with long-time partner Nokia,” the company wrote.
“Bell is ready to deliver initial 5G service in urban centres across Canada as next-generation smartphones come to market in 2020, and will continue to enhance 5G access speeds, capacity and coverage as additional 5G wireless spectrum, including in the 3.5 GHz band, becomes available this year through the federal government’s spectrum auction process.”
Bell says that Nokia has become a leading international vendor of 5G network solutions with more than 60 commercial 5G contracts with wireless carriers worldwide.
The carrier notes that a wireless CI ratio of around 9 to 10 percent is expected during 5G build cycle.
Mirko Bibic, the CEO and president of BCE, notes that this is Bell’s “first” 5G partnership.
“I stress the word first, what I’m trying to signal here is that we need to be able to work with many equipment suppliers, today and in the future. That includes Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, and Cisco,” he said during the Q4 2019 investors call.
“It’s always prudent to have multiple supply sources, we’re always looking for that flexibility. We’re still waiting for the government’s decision on its security review.”
Bibic is referring to the fact that the government still hasn’t decided whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in the deployment of 5G in Canada.
“As we said this morning, we’re ready to deploy initial 5G service because we will always be competitive,” he continued.
Rogers, who is partnered with Ericsson as its 5G vendor, has started rolling out its 5G network in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. No one is able to use the network yet, as there aren’t any phones authorized to the network.
Further, Rogers says it has finished testing Samsung’s 5G phone but hasn’t provided details about coverage or which Samsung phone was used for the testing.
Telus, the remainder of the Big Three, has yet to announce any 5G partnerships, but is reporting its Q4 2019 earnings results on February 13th.