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Proximus Drops Huawei for Nokia and Ericsson

October 12, 2020

Belgium's Proximus has decided to replace its mobile network equipment from Huawei with products from Finnish supplier Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson. The Belgian capital Brussels is where NATO HQ is located.

Nokia has been selected to upgrade the Mobile Radio Access network (RAN) equipment. Ericsson has been selected as Proximus’ main partner for the modernization of its Mobile Data Core network.

This new-generation equipment will enable Proximus to consolidate its position as the undisputed leader in mobile networks in Belgium and to build the 5G network of the future.

Geert Standaert, Proximus Chief Technology Officer said, "The decision to collaborate with Nokia and Ericsson is crucial in the execution of our network strategy. Together, we will work hard to build a best-in-class, open, reliable and sustainable mobile network to the benefit of the whole country. Along with the strong acceleration of our fiber roll-out, this modernization will help us realize our ambition to build the best Gigabit network for Belgium."

Last year, Proximus started the process on the foreseen renewal of its Mobile RAN and Core equipment, with the objective to ensure its leading position in mobile networks, today and in the future.

For the RAN part, Nokia has been selected to progressively modernize Proximus’ existing 2G/3G/4G network by 2023. In parallel, Nokia will be a key partner in the deployment of the 5G network.

For the Mobile Data Core part, Ericsson has been selected as it stands out with its dual-mode 5G Core. This state-of-the-art solution is cloud native by design and supports 5G NR Stand-Alone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA), 4G, 3G and 2G technologies.

The choice for Nokia and Ericsson follows a thorough competitive selection process, based on technological, operational, financial and environmental criteria.

Strengthening Proximus’ leading position in mobile networks

Proximus is the first and only operator in Belgium to have launched a public 5G network. Six months after launch, 5G is available at 110 different sites in 62 cities and municipalities, mainly in Flanders, with a further extension foreseen in the coming months. Simultaneously, Proximus actively explores the possibilities of 5G for industrial applications in different industries, supported by the temporary licenses allocated mid-summer by the regulator, and working with different partners including Port of Antwerp, Brussels Airport and public broadcaster VRT. In order to further accelerate the development of 5G use cases, Proximus is also launching a dedicated 5G innovation platform where it will collaborate with the different players in the market, both local and international, to develop relevant innovative solutions that answer today’s societal and business needs.

The modernization of the mobile RAN and Core network is essential for Proximus to consolidate its leading position in mobile networks, which is at the heart of its #inspire2022 strategy. It will allow to take a leading role in the acceleration of the 5G deployment in Belgium and guarantee the stability and quality of mobile connectivity while mobile data usage is strongly increasing. At the same time, it will facilitate the development of new products and services anticipating the evolution of customer needs. By combining the RAN renewal in collaboration with Nokia and the Mobile Core modernization together with Ericsson, Proximus will benefit from a completely renewed mobile network.

Furthermore, thanks to an extremely competitive selection process, Proximus can renew its mobile network at a lower cost than anticipated in the framework of its #inspire2022 plan announced at the end of March. The cumulative saving on Proximus’ 2021-2023 total Mobile capex projection is expected to be up to € 80 million, in spite of more ambitious roll-out that initially foreseen.

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