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Nokia kicks off pre-MWC race, jostling Ericsson in C-RAN and LTE-A Pro

And then there were four – the Big Five mobile network vendors are reduced to a quartet, though Cisco will be hoping that its new alliance with Ericsson will admit it to the inner circle, while Samsung and NEC remain hopeful of harnessing virtualization to improve their RAN business. But the fight is really a three-way one now, of course, with Nokia setting out its Mobile World Congress stall for the first time as the owner of Alcatel-Lucent, and Ericsson set to reveal more about that Cisco partnership – while Huawei looms over them both.

Both European companies stuck with recent tradition and revealed highlights of their MWC announcements well in advance, though both promise further news in Barcelona itself.

Last year, both companies were heavily focused on software-defined networking and telco transformation, Ericsson adopting ‘Digital Telco’ as an MWC 2015 slogan and Nokia unveiling Radio Cloud. Both were cautious about using the ‘5G’ term too heavily, aware that, in March 2015, and indeed, Huawei introduced its ‘4.5G’ label to reflect the industry’s need to deliver innovative network platforms for the mobile operators, long before 5G was defined.

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