With Sweden having recently banned Chinese kit vendors, the only surprise in Telia’s announcement was Nokia getting all is 5G standalone core work.

The RAN is where the real money is, but somebody’s got to do the core work, so winning it is better than a kick in the proverbials. Having said that, Nokia gets the 5G RAN deal in its home country of Finland, which makes sense. Meanwhile Ericsson has won the 5G RAN work in Sweden (of course) and Estonia. It bagged Norway last year, but it seems Denmark and Lithuania are still up for grabs.

“We are delighted to extend our long-standing partnership with Telia Company,” said Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark. “For over half a century we have worked with Telia to deliver best-in-class connectivity – now that continues into the 5G era, as we supply Telia’s RAN technology in Finland and its core 5G network across the Nordic and Baltic nations. I look forward to continuing our close collaboration with Telia for years to come.”

“The full realization of 5G’s potential begins with the network,” said Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm. “With that in place the true power to innovate, explore and experience the world through 5G becomes possible. The next global game changing network application may well be invented by a tech start up or developer using a Telia 5G network, leveraging Ericsson technology. We share an ambition with Telia to create a better-connected world with a more sustainable future in which the Nordic and Baltic countries play a powerful part.”

“Our networks have never been more important to life and livelihoods and they are the foundation of a thriving digital economy, with innovation, sustainability and security at their core,” said Allison Kirkby, Telia CEO. “With today’s agreement, we have the foundation in place to develop the most trusted and reliable 5G networks in the Nordics and the Baltics. It is also the start of a multiyear investment in our networks, ramping up fully in 2021.”

The Kirkby quote was taken from the Ericsson press release, but she said much the same in the Nokia one. Coming so soon after the Swedish Huawei ban was made public, this has the feel of a set of announcements that were delayed until political air cover arrived. Also, the Nokia core wins probably indicate Ericsson will get the rest of the Telia RAN work.

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