BCE Inc. has signed an agreement to start using Nokia equipment to build out its Canadian 5G network, the telecommunications giant announced as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report.
The 5G rollout, according to Bell, will begin in “urban centres” across Canada as new smartphones equipped with 5G technology enter the market later this year. Nokia is one of the world’s leading international vendors of 5G solutions, and has 60 commercial 5G contracts with wireless carriers globally.
In a conference call with analysts, Bell’s president and CEO Mirko Bibic signalled Nokia will not be the only provider of 5G solutions to Bell. “We are going to need to be able to work with many suppliers and that includes Huawei and Ericsson and Cisco. We are waiting on the government security review, but we will be ready to deploy 5G service to Canadians,” Bibic said.
The choice of a 5G equipment supplier has been a hot topic in the telecom world for more than a year, as network operators prepare to build their next-generation systems.