(Reuters) – Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia launched software on Tuesday that enables mobile operators to upgrade their 4G radio stations to new 5G technology without a site visit or replacing equipment.
The Finnish firm hopes the software will help it in its battle against Huawei and Ericsson for next wave of 5G orders as the technology should allow carriers to save on costs.
“This solution will save the telecommunications industry potentially tens of billions of euros in site engineering and re-visit costs,” Nokia said in a statement.
Nokia said the software upgrade was available immediately for about one million radio stations, growing to 3.1 million by the end of the year and to over 5 million in 2021.
“By upgrading existing radio elements via software, Nokia is helping to streamline the process of refarming 4G spectrum into 5G,” the company said.
Last week, Nokia became the first major telecoms equipment maker to commit to adding open interfaces in its products, a trend that will give software a central role in future mobile networks.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)