T-Mobile and Nokia have agreed to a $3.5 billion deal under which Nokia will provide end-to-end 5G technology to help build T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network, the companies announced.
The multi-year supply deal is, reportedly, the largest 5G deal ever and a sign of a wireless upgrade cycle. 5G networks are faster and have lower latency than 4G LTE networks, and upgrades are a precursor to new applications, including driverless cars and medical monitoring.
“Nokia and T-Mobile will advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the United States,” said Ashish Chowdhary, chief customer operations officer at Nokia. “This is a testament to our companies’ strong and productive working relationship.”
T-Mobile agreed in April to a merger with Sprint and is lobbying for regulatory approval for the deal, valued at an estimated $146 billion. The deal would allow the combined entities to draw closer to the revenue volume of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, which would remain the two largest U.S. mobile carriers.
Last month, T-Mobile CEO John Legere told a Senate subcommittee that nearly every business in America would be able to use 5G technology to revolutionize how they operate. “To make this happen and deliver on the full promise of 5G, we need to combine Sprint and T-Mobile now,” he said.
Under the agreement, T-Mobile and Nokia said they would develop the “next generation of connectivity services” as part of the deal. The companies said 5G offers faster speeds, better connectivity, and longer battery life for sensors, and that the technology will enable a range of new technologies.
The companies said their agreement marked a major investment during the “critical first years of the 5G cycle.”
In February, T-Mobile said it planned to build out 5G in 30 cities this year, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas, ahead of a launch of 5G smartphones next year.