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Nokia inks 3bn-euro 5G deal with US operator

The Finnish network firm will provide 5G equipment, software and services to US operator T-Mobile in a multi-year contract.

Henkilö virtuaalilasit päässään ja konsoliohjain käsissään.
Nokia said that rolling out 5G networks would enable new technologies like VR, AR and driverless vehicles. Image: Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA

Nokia said on Monday it had signed an agreement to provide US mobile carrier T-Mobile with 5G network gear and services worth three billion euros.

The agreement marks the world’s largest 5G deal so far, news agency Reuters said.

Under the contract, Nokia will supply a range of 5G hardware, software and services that will help T-Mobile to "bring its 5G network to market for customers in the critical first years of the 5G cycle," according to the company.

Nokia's COO Ashish Chowdhary said the companies would advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the US.

"This is a testament to our companies' strong and productive working relationship, one which has produced several important technological milestones in recent months, and which now allows us to make 5G a commercial reality," Chowdhary said in a company statement issued Monday.

VR, AR and driverless vehicles

Once it is up and running, wireless 5G tech will significantly increase mobile data speeds and capacity. Current 4G speeds - also referred to as LTE in some areas of the world - top off at about 1 gigabits per second, while coming 5G networks will feature data speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

Nokia said 5G will enable a new generation of applications such as "on-demand virtual reality and augmented reality experiences," driverless vehicles and other services which require high bandwidth and low latency connections.

T-Mobile, which is the third-largest operator in the US behind Verizon and AT&T, agreed to merge with rival Sprint in April.

Nokia: Deal doesn't change outlook

Nokia also said the deal would not change its outlook for the rest of the year, as the impact of the agreement was included in its second-quarter report which was published last week.

In that report, Nokia announced a significant drop in profits but said the second half of 2018 would be more robust due to the 5G rollout.

The network equipment business is led by three big players, China’s Huawei, Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson, and has struggled with flagging growth since the current generation of 4G mobile equipment peaked in 2015, according to Reuters.

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