Finnish vendor sets up 5G showcase centre at Espoo HQ with a view to serving its European customers better

Nokia on Tuesday officially opened its second 5G Future X Lab at its global headquarters in Espoo, Finland.

The lab is designed to help Nokia to show off its 5G capabilities. The Finnish vendor already has a similar site up and running in the US, at its Bell Labs HQ in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

The lab is aimed at telecoms operators, enterprises and infrastructure providers and will enable them, in Nokia’s own words, "to learn and understand the techno-economic power of a 5G end-to-end network to better serve their customers and unleash new value."

It will allow Nokia to demonstrate its 5G capabilities, with live hardware, software and full network slicing. It will also serve as an innovation platform for Nokia’s internal research, prototype development and testing, and in addition will help the vendor to engage with the broader 5G R&D ecosystem.

"The Future X Lab is an extensive build-out of a 5G end-to-end network, enabling customers to explore how a dynamically reconfigurable and automated network can increase network performance in areas of latency, capacity, reliability and security while reducing total cost of ownership," said Bell Labs president and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon, in a statement.

Opening such a lab in Finland will help Nokia to serve its European customers better and engage with industry verticals, Weldon explained.

Nokia has signed 48 commercial 5G deals around the world, up from the 42 it had brokered by early June. Back then it highlighted "notable recent wins" in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and African regions in particular. It has since announced a number of 5G contracts and service rollouts – although of course contract wins and operator announcements do not necessarily coincide in terms of timing – but interestingly they were predominantly Asia-Pacific deals; none came in Europe.

For example, in August Nokia announced a contract with Vodafone New Zealand for 5G rollout; the telco aims to launch by the end of this year.

And last week Nokia detailed the rollout of a trial 5G network for Vietnam’s Viettel. It has set up 10 5G base stations in a defined area of Ho Chi Minh City, ahead of the telco’s planned commercial launch next year.