Vodafone Hutchison Australia announced a partnership with Nokia for the deployment of its 5G network in the country, the vendor said in a release.

Nokia confirmed that the 5G network rollout is expected to begin during the first half of 2020.

Vodafone’s Chief Executive Officer, Iñaki Berroeta, said: “We have worked with Nokia for several years across different elements of our network. They presented a compelling roadmap that aligned with our 5G objectives and will help us to continue improving our 4G network for our customers.”

“Their knowledge of our network is extensive, and they are in the best position to ensure a seamless transition and that we reach our 5G goals as soon as possible while maintaining the best experience for our 4G customers,” the executive added.

The partnership with Nokia has also enabled Vodafone to fast track its 5G delivery and to switch on its first group of 5G sites in and around Paramatta in the coming months. The sites originally made up a test network which Nokia used to demonstrate its technology but are now set to become the first area of commercial coverage for Vodafone’s 5G network and will soon be available to Vodafone customers with a compatible 5G device.

Federico Guillén, President, Customer Operations EMEA & APAC at Nokia, said: “We are delighted to be working closer with Vodafone Hutchison Australia on transforming its network to deliver superior 5G services to its customers,” he said.

“We started our 5G journey with Vodafone in 2016 and are now moving from trials to reality. Nokia’s end-to-end portfolio has a key role to play here, with this deal including 5G radio access network (RAN), IP/Optical, Microwave, deployment and managed services, as well as software.”

Berroeta also highlighted that Vodafone has been preparing for the evolution of 5G for a long time. “Our focus has always been to deliver the best possible mobile service for our customers. With 5G devices only just starting to become more widely available, now is the right time to start rolling out 5G. We’re excited to continue this journey with Nokia.”

The deal between Vodafone and Nokia is for a term of at least 5 years and enables Vodafone to place orders with Nokia for site delivery, thus allowing Vodafone to scale up or down the pace of its 5G rollout according to its requirements.

Nokia also said that the Australian telco will be able to use its existing 4G spectrum for the provision of 5G services.

Vodafone also said that it plans to begin the rollout of its 5G services in the first half of 2020.

The carrier is a 50:50 joint venture between UK-based telecom group Vodafone and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited. Vodafone New Zealand had previously signed a deal with Nokia for 5G equipment.

Nokia said that it has already inked 61 commercial 5G deals, of which 33 are publicly announced. The Finnish vendor has already announced 18 live 5G networks globally.

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