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Orange announces 5G trials in France and Romania

Orange_5G_Marie_Noëlle

Marie Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière © Orange

  • Orange will conduct end-to-end 5G trials in France with Ericsson
  • Samsung and Cisco are partnering with Orange on 5G FWA trials in Romania
  • French centre for testing autonomous vehicles selects Orange as its 4G/5G partner
  • Partnership with Nokia and Kathrein for the design of a smart 4G/5G antenna

French telco Orange has announced several new European tests and trials for 5G equipment, in partnership with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Cisco. It expects that these trials will lead to pilot deployments with 5G smartphones in 2019 and full commercial deployment from 2020. Orange will conduct a technical end-to-end 5G test in France in the cities of Lille and Douai, using network equipment supplied by Ericsson. The trial will run from mid-2018 until mid-2019, pending the necessary authorisations from regulator Arcep.

It will also conduct a test in Romania of high-speed broadband internet access in the home under real conditions to enhance the fibre network. Where fibre has not yet been deployed to the home, a high-speed broadband access solution using 5G could be a viable option in suburban areas in certain countries. This solution will also be made available for business customers, who will be able to easily access a back-up solution in case of issues with existing networks or to use it for temporary projects. To assess the maturity of this technology and its acceptance by customers, Orange will conduct a trial under real conditions in Romania during the second half of 2018 with its partners Samsung and Cisco.

Orange adds that it has been chosen by UTAC CERAM, the French centre for testing and the certification of autonomous vehicles, as its 4G/5G connectivity partner. Orange will provide 4G+ high speed coverage on the entire site of Linas-Montlhéry in the Ile-de-France. Further, in collaboration with Ericsson, Orange will deploy an experimental mobile infrastructure to test the necessary 5G functionality for autonomous vehicles, which will take place later in 2018.

Orange also announced a partnership with Nokia and Kathrein for the design of a smart antenna that manages 4G and 5G connectivity. It believes that this type of antenna, which is currently in the prototype stage, will be compact enough to be installed on existing mobile towers.

“This is the beginning of transformation that will affect the whole of our society and lead us towards a genuinely 5G Generation,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Director of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies at Orange.

Fixed Wireless Access

Cisco and Samsung have separately provided further details of their collaboration with Orange on the Romanian 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) trial. It will use mmWave frequencies – although precise information on the band has not been disclosed – and will be the first a multi-vendor 5G FWA customer trial in Europe.

“Industry collaboration for innovation and multi-vendor interoperability is paramount to the success of 5G,” said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and GM, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “5G is pushing the network to new lengths, with the need for greater bandwidth a top priority for all service providers. Our work with Samsung and Orange on this project spotlights how new scaling models and innovative virtualization solutions can deliver on the promise of 5G for an always on, connected society.”

Samsung will provide commercial 5G home routers (indoor and outdoor customer-premises equipment), 5G RAN units comprised of a compact radio base station and virtualized RAN elements, as well as 5G radio frequency planning services. Cisco will supply its Ultra Gateway Platform, delivering a 5G virtual packet core on top of its NFV Infrastructure. The mobile gateway will be deployed with Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) for enhanced throughput and flexibility.

“Together with Samsung and Cisco, we are joining forces to drive the development of 5G and prepare for its progressive roll-out starting 2020,” said Arnaud Vamparys, SVP Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange. “This trial will demonstrate how FWA, NFV and multi-vendor interoperability create new opportunities and gives us flexibility to build our next-generation network as a multi-service network.”

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