Nokia has secured a three-year deal to upgrade Globe Telecom’s existing 4G network to 5G, and expand the next-generation technology to more than 1,000 sites across the Philippines.

In a statement, Nokia said it would provide equipment and services from its AirScale portfolio to build Globe Telecom’s RAN, including base stations and other products.

The operator will also use Nokia’s AirScale Massive MIMO antenna solution, to boost coverage and performance. The deal will employ 3.5GHz spectrum for dense, urban coverage and it will expand existing LTE network infrastructure.

As well as upgrading 4G, Nokia is tasked with rolling out 5G across the Philippines, covering the country’s second- and third-largest islands of Mindanao and Visayas, with work due to begin in Q2 2021 and conclude in 2023.

Nokia said the agreement builds on an existing partnership with Globe Telecom. It currently provides wireless, IP, optical and fixed network products and services.

Globe Telecom has been vocal about its moves to expand 5G across the country, accelerating the rollout of compatible base stations in parts of 17 cities at the end of 2020. It is undergoing a three-pronged network expansion strategy, including cell site deployments, LTE upgrades and a nationwide fibre-to-the-home push.

The deal is a welcome addition to Nokia’s order book: CEO Pekka Lundmark recently warned the company faced challenges in relation to mobile network earnings in 2021, due to factors including intense competition in 5G.