Nokia to Reportedly Sign 5G RAN Deal with Portugal’s MEO

Finnish telecoms equipment giant Nokia Corp. is reportedly in advance discussions to enter a deal with one of Portugal’s leading telecoms operators, MEO, to provide 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment.

Citing an internal post from the network gear maker and two sources with knowledge of the matter, it was reported that an agreement had been established, with the contract only requiring a signature.

The sources said the arrangement may be announced as soon as next month.

Nokia Potentially Rivaling Huawei’s Portugal RAN Market Lead

The news signals that the Finland-based company is starting to impact Portugal’s telecom equipment market, where Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is currently the frontrunner.

In recent years, Huawei has been the only supplier of 2G, 3G, and 4G RAN equipment to MEO, but Nokia’s reported deal suggests the situation is about to change.

Being the sole supplier for the Altice Europe NV-owned firm has allowed Huawei to hold a 100% share in the 2G, 3G, and 4G markets.

With Nokia’s participation, however, the company’s President of Mobile Networks, Tommi Uitto, stated in an internal blog post that the Shenzhen-based company is set to be replaced in certain key markets in Portugal.

Uitto also said the agreement would see the Finnish firm return to the country’s RAN market after it lost market share to Huawei years earlier and has since not supplied RAN in Portugal.

Spokespersons for Nokia and Huawei have declined to comment, while MEO has yet to provide one.

RAN equipment has accounted for a significant part of telecom sales for companies including Nokia, Huawei, and Sweden’s Ericsson.

However, demand for new equipment from telecom firms has declined since 2023, weighing down Nokia and its Swedish rival, which resulted in thousands of layoffs from the two to manage.

A US-based market research agency has estimated a 5%- 8% slide in the world RAN market this year.

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