NEC Corp., a major Japanese information technology company, has agreed to support the development of the UK’s fifth-generation wireless networks across the country, as reported by the British government. The announcement came after Japan and the United Kingdom signed a bilateral free trade agreement following Brexit. Details of the deal are currently unavailable.
Since the UK has banned Huawei from deploying its 5G network and has decided to fully remove Huawei’s equipment altogether by 2027 because of potential security issues, the question of who can intervene to fill the empty space left by the Chinese seller has remained open. While European giants Ericsson and Nokia were obvious choices, other candidates also made an appearance.
The UK government asked Japan to help deploy 5G networks in the country back in July. British officials then told colleagues in Tokyo that the Japanese technology companies NEC and Fujitsu could be the ones to replace Huawei, and asked for Japanese support to improve network technology and cost-effectiveness.
During a diplomatic trip to Japan last week, British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss spoke to NEC President Nobuhiro Endo about 5G and its deployment in the UK.
The UK Department for International Trade tweeted: “Japanese tech giant NEC to support roll out of 5G in the UK. The UK-Japan trade agreement signed today will bring two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations & democratic allies closer together.”
Moreover, at the end of September, Finland’s Nokia signed an agreement to supply 5G networks across the UK, making the Finnish telecommunications provider the largest equipment provider to BT.
On top of that, a few days ago, NEC made an announcement that they are working with Analog Devices Inc. to help develop the 5G Massive MIMO antenna units for Rakuten, with which they are jointly working to create an innovative virtualized RAN for the operator. The company is also working with Altiostar and VodafoneZiggo to achieve the first successful voice call over an open virtual RAN in the Netherlands.