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Press Release -- November 16th, 2017
Source: nok
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Nokia and China Unicom to enhance mobile broadband performance in China using small cells


Press Release

  • Companies make it possible for China Unicom subsidiaries in 31 provinces to deploy Flexi Zone small cells and AirScale low power radio head to meet growing data demands
  • Agreement supports acceleration of network densification, further extending 3G and 4G coverage and capacity indoors and outdoors, in urban and rural locations across China
  • Deal opens up possibilities for NB-IoT and 5G in the future via software upgrade to connect sensors and support new smart services

16 November 2017

Espoo, Finland - Nokia and China Unicom are to offer Nokia Flexi Zone small cells and an AirScale low power radio head for deployment in 31 provinces in China. This will give China Unicom's subsidiaries new flexibility as they densify busy city 3G and 4G LTE networks and further enhance performance in suburban and rural locations.

Initial small cell deployments will allow China Unicom subsidiaries to extend coverage and capacity to meet growing subscriber mobile data demands. According to China Unicom's most recent operating report , the company has seen the number of 4G subscribers on its network increase during 2017 by approximately 55 million to reach a total of over 160 million.

By deploying the Nokia Flexi Zone portfolio, China Unicom will be able to densify the network where it isn't possible to add a macro base station because of space or cost constraints. Small cells can also be used to extend coverage and capacity inside offices and homes, as well as in high-traffic locations such as train stations and shopping malls.

The ability to upgrade the small cell portfolio via software to deliver narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) support means that the deployments will also lay the foundation for the future introduction of IoT and 5G services. Future implementation of NB-IoT will enable the connection of myriad sensors for the delivery of many smart city services, including smart transport and metering systems as well as the introduction of smart healthcare.

Nokia will leverage its extensive global services expertise to optimize small cell deployments for China Unicom, including network planning and optimization, equipment commissioning and care in warrantee services.

Gao Bo, head of Customer Business Team for China Unicom at Nokia Shanghai Bell, said: "This agreement extends the long-term cooperation between China Unicom and Nokia. We have developed a small cell portfolio that will allow operators to cost-efficiently densify and scale their networks, boosting 3G and 4G performance to stay ahead of demand. By combining this small cell technology with our extensive global services expertise, we can optimize any deployment for China Unicom."

About the Agreement

  • Four products will be made available for deployment in 31 provinces via the China Unicom procurement list:
    • Nokia Flexi Zone Mini-Macro offers macro-sized coverage in a compact size, allowing operators to deploy where space is limited or costly
    • Nokia AirScale Micro RRH offers outdoor coverage support for 3G and 4G networks in a single unit
    • Nokia Flexi Zone Micro meets high-performance mobile broadband demands in busy public locations such as shopping malls and transport hubs
    • Nokia Flexi Zone Pico can be used to extend coverage and capacity inside homes and offices
  • The 31 provinces represent 20 percent of China Unicom's network and include Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hunan, Sichuan, Shanghai, Guangxi, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Fujian, Gansu, Shaanxi and Jiangxi.

Additional Information

Did You Know

Leading analyst firms have acknowledged Nokia small cells equipment in their reports.

  • Gartner recently placed Nokia in the Leaders quadrant of its 'Magic Quadrant for Small Cell Equipment ' report published on October 12, 2017 and authored by Ian Keene, Kosei Takiishi, and Peter Liu.
  • In the IHS Markit 'Small Cell Strategies and Vendor Leadership' survey of 22 operators, published in September, Nokia was rated the top small cell vendor according to Stéphane Téral, Executive Director of Research and Analysis, Mobile Infrastructure & Carrier Economics.
  • Global Data's July 2017 'Nokia Small Cell Product Assessment' ,  Ed Gubbins, Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure, noted that "Nokia's small cell portfolio is a Leader in the market. Across the full swath of small cell segments, Nokia has been more aggressive than rivals".

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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