EE Signs Up Nokia’s Networks Arm For 4G Expansion

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The new base stations will use spectrum refarming to provide better connectivity

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), the part of the Finnish company that isn’t being sold to Microsoft, has been selected to expand and upgrade EE’s 4G service.

The UK’s largest operator recently announced that the total number of its customers on 4G plans has reached two million. The next stage of the expansion will cover another 25 percent of the UK population, with a focus on small cities and rural areas. NSN will also modernise EE’s 2G network to improve performance and reduce power consumption.

“We have selected NSN because of their technology, their people, and because of their ability to provide a high quality end-to-end services model. We look forward to working together as we continue to give people across the UK access to the biggest and fastest 4G mobile network,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

It was previously reported that EE and Three have agreed to share mast infrastructure and the cost of transmission between the masts and their main networks, but keep their antennas, spectrum and core networks separate.

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EE was the first mobile network operator to offer a consumer-grade 4G service in the UK. It has by far the most extensive 4G coverage of any domestic LTE operator, covering more than 70 percent of the population.

Its existing network already features Nokia’s 2G and 3G base stations. Under the new contract, NSN will implement the Single Radio Access Network (RAN) Advanced solution, which operates different radio technologies on a single multi-purpose hardware platform, and is especially useful for legacy network upgrades.

The deployment will also include NSN’s scalable Flexi Multiradio 10 base stations, NetAct network management software and the company’s suite of network security tools.

“There is great momentum in LTE adoption in Europe and worldwide with ever-growing numbers of subscribers using data-hungry services,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of NSN. “EE will also benefit from NSN’s significant experience in spectrum efficiency research when refarming current 2G spectrum for 4G with NSN’s support.”

EE recently announced plans to extend coverage to major rail and road routes, 18 airports and 13 new towns, bringing the total number of 4G-enabled locations to more than 170 – far more than O2, Vodafone or Three, all of which launched competing LTE networks last year.

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