In a move that could position the company as the frontrunner in the future battle for 5G, Nokia has launched software which allows current mobile operators to upgrade their 4G stations without adding new hardware.

The new software roll-out by the Finnish telecoms company enables current providers to upgrade from 4G to 5G without installing any new masts or hardware. The development, which could prove key in aiding the firm’s fight with Huawei and Ericsson for 5G domination, was announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, the once global leader in mobile technology said the solution will “significantly smooth out the deployment of 5G” and help in “avoiding costly and disruptive site visits.” The software upgrade has been made immediately available for about one million radio stations.

We’re proud to announce that by 2021, we will be able to migrate 5 million legacy 4G units to #5G, offering a seamless and cost-effective upgrade to our customers and installed base.

How does it work? Through a process called “spectrum refarming,” where past frequencies are appropriated for newer technologies. In the past, this has been achieved with both 2G-3G and 3G-4G.

The announcement came hours before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively blacklisted Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from the country’s 5G network, by banning British firms from buying Huawei 5G components and ordering them to remove any they already have by 2027.

Nokia’s new development could help ease concerns surrounding the technology in the wake of Covid-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, 5G towers in several western countries were subject to arson and sabotage amid unsubstantiated rumors that the technology was in some way responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!