Nokia Loses Out On China Unicom-Telecom 5G SA Deal


China Unicom and China Telecom announced suppliers for their joint standalone (SA) 5G network deployment, splitting the majority of two contracts valued at CNY183.5 billion (US$25.92 billion) between Huawei and ZTE, with Nokia omitted from the selection.

The domestic vendors each won 35.9 per cent of the value of the tenders, Sweden-based Ericsson was awarded 17.9 per cent and Datang Mobile Communications 10.3 per cent.

In the operators’ first tender, valued at CNY65.87 billion, Huawei and ZTE won an even split. For the CNY117.6 billion second contract, the operators gave Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson each 28 per cent shares, while Datang captured 16 per cent.

Nokia, which bid for the centralised procurement project for the operators, jointly building a single nationwide 5G RAN, was also recently left off China Mobile’s supplier list for the second phase of its 5G deployment.

A Nokia representative told Mobile World Live the company respects the decision: “We remain a long-term player in China and our commitment to China remains, but…we have always taken a conservative and transparent approach to our business in China. We continue to execute against a clear strategic goal to improve our overall business mix in the country.”

The omission adds to a string of woes the Finnish company faced since the beginning of the year. Earlier this month, Nokia refused to comment on media reports it hired an investment bank to help it defend from a hostile takeover. It also announced a change of CEO, warned about its prospects for the year and was forced to fend off reports of asset sales.

While the vendor selection for the joint SA network project was similar to China Mobile’s, ZTE, Ericsson and Datang were awarded larger shares at Huawei’s expense.

With Huawei winning a 57.3 per cent share of China Mobile’s latest contract, ZTE’s share was 28.7 per cent, Ericsson 11.5 per cent and Datang 2.6 per cent.

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