Nokia will also be Spark’s partner for the other heartland locations that will be launched before the yearend.
Rajesh Singh, GM manager of value management at Spark, says in line with its previously-stated multi-vendor strategy, Spark now has three companies – Nokia, Samsung and Huawei – on its roster of preferred RAN equipment suppliers for 5G.
In addition, he says, Spark will continue to use Cisco and Ericsson for separate elements of its existing Network Core, which has already been upgraded to ensure it is Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G capable.
“We’ve consistently said our approach to 5G will be multi-vendor,” says Singh.
“A key reason for this is that 5G technology is still emerging and is likely to develop significantly in the next few years, so a mix of vendors makes sense.”
Spark points out as with any network deployment the rollout of the 5G network is subject to government approval in accordance with the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013 (TICSA).
“We have already obtained approval through TICSA to use Nokia 5G RAN equipment for our recently announced deployment in Alexandra, and for our upcoming locations before Christmas,” states Singh.
“We have withdrawn our original TICSA application, which proposed a single-vendor 5G RAN strategy. We will work through the TICSA approval process in due course with our other RAN vendors, prior to any deployment of their equipment.”