February 23, 2014 8:01 pm

EE strikes network-sharing deal with NSN

EE, the British telecoms group, has struck a £250m multiyear contract with NSN, the Finnish telecoms equipment group owned by Nokia, to provide technology for its rollout of 4G in the UK.

In an announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, EE said that NSN would provide the antennae and network security software for the next stage in the expansion of its 4G LTE network.

NSN is also modernising EE’s 2G network to improve performance and reduce power consumption.

“We have pioneered 4G in the UK, and we are now working with NSN on the next stage of our rollout, covering the next 25 per cent of the UK population in rural areas and small towns,” said Olaf Swantee, EE chief executive.

EE shares the basic telecoms mast infrastructure with Three, the smallest British operator, but has sought to provide a different service to its customers based on the speed of its rollout, spectrum and the core network functions.

EE and Three last month agreed a network-sharing deal for the next stage of building of the basic telecoms network, which included mast infrastructure and transmission costs between the masts and the main national networks, but changed an original agreement that tied the two companies more closely together.

EE, which is the UK’s largest operator and jointly owned by Orange and Deutsche Telekom, said that the NSN deal showed how it was differentiating its network from that operated by Three.

Network equipment makers are competing for top billing at this year’s Mobile World Congress with innovations that they say will make phone networks quicker, better, cheaper and smarter.

Groups such as Ericsson, NSN and Huawei have developed improved smaller transmitters, which are better able to work with each other without creating interference.

The groups have also unveiled innovations in cloud service provision, with Alcatel-Lucent agreeing a global collaboration with Intel to create services for its cloud business, and ways to allow voice calls over data-only LTE networks.

NSN is showing how networks can better detect hacker attacks on individual phones. The improved networks are better able to forecast peak times of usage and manage the demands for internet service more efficiently.

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