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Nokia and Virgin Media O2 extend 5G RAN deal

Nokia today announced that it has won a new three-year deal with Virgin Media O2 to supply Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its market-leading AirScale portfolio, continuing the long-standing partnership that exists between the two companies.

The deal will see the operator invest in 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, supporting Virgin Media O2’s continued efforts to deliver a best-in-class network experience to its customers with increased reliability, performance, and capacity. The agreement covers the Southern parts of the United Kingdom including London.

Nokia will supply Virgin Media O2 with its latest generation of Habrok massive MIMO radios and AirScale Baseband and Interleaved Passive Active Antennas (IPAA), both powered by its new energy-efficient generation of ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) technology. This will bring enhanced 5G performance to O2 customers, while increasing energy efficiency. The equipment uses 30 percent less energy and provides a 40 percent reduction in weight and volume, helping minimize the impact on site infrastructure and accelerating network deployment.

Nokia will also supply its Single RAN solution that enables one base station to run 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G technologies simultaneously. This will help enable Virgin Media O2 to accelerate its 5G coverage rollout. Virgin Media O2 will also use Nokia’s NetAct network management system to enable a consolidated network view for improved network monitoring and management. Nokia will also provide digital design and deployment as well as optimization and technical support services.

As part of the deal, Virgin Media O2 has the option to launch a pilot of Nokia’s commercial intelligent controller to demonstrate the promise of advanced 5G use cases. The agreement also means that Virgin Media O2 may pilot 5G Cloud RAN in the future, enhancing the potential of existing cloud infrastructure with 5G wireless connectivity.

Nokia will also provide its Digital Operations Center to manage the design, deployment, and assurance of services across different network domains. This includes an innovative solution that supports network modernization while ensuring the security of the network.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, commented: We continue to invest in our network upgrading and expanding our 4G and 5G networks to customers across the country. This is delivering superior connected experiences and supporting the UK’s digital transformation that will drive long-term growth. Continuing our partnership with Nokia will help us to deliver even better 5G with higher speeds and lower latency, as well as ensuring we are set up for future growth in line with our customers’ ever-evolving demands and needs.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said:Virgin Media O2 is a long-standing partner of over twenty years and this new deal is a testament to their continued trust in our technology leadership. This extended deal will see even more people benefit from enhanced mobile connectivity delivered by our latest generation of AirScale solutions that will help build the foundations for the United Kingdom’s digital transformation.”

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