Samsung is reportedly inline to be part of Orange’s 5G network plans, which would be another arrow in the vendor’s growing quiver of network deals.
Orange CEO Stéphane Richard told Reuters this week that the South Korean vendor is a very credible candidate to become a major 5G supplier for the France-based carrier. Orange plans to test Samsung equipment in the city of Saint-Ouen near Paris this year.
Orange has previously said it will deploy equipment in 17 European cities this year and is adopting a multi-vendor approach to building its networks – taking a “best-in-class” approach rather than seeking end-to-end solutions.
An Orange spokesperson told SDxCentral that the carrier has not yet chosen its 5G suppliers, but is looking to make a decision by year-end. In the meantime, Orange is working with various vendors, including Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia to test their technologies in the lab and in the field.
Samsung is a solid fixture in South Korean’s 5G deployments, having recently claimed the largest share of network equipment in its home country to date. The vendor said it has supplied more than 53,000 total radio base stations to all three of that country’s nationwide operators. It’s also supplying those operators with virtualized 5G core solutions that support 4G LTE and 5G services in non-standalone (NSA) mode with plans to migrate to standalone (SA) 5G service through a software upgrade down the line.
Samsung is also working with major operators in the U.S. on their 5G deployments.
Orange 5G Use Cases
Beyond its vendor choice, Orange is also putting its money where its mouth is in terms of building 5G use cases. The operator is working with around 1,000 of its enterprise customers to test and develop 5G use cases.
Richard opined that 5G “will not be just another new development in mobile uses. This is a technological leap that announces a significant transformation of business models for all companies and in all sectors of activity.”
It’s a strong message that sets out Orange’s ambition to work with businesses to develop future uses of 5G. It is clearly adopting a “business-first” approach to 5G for when it starts to roll out services later this year.
The move also signals that wireless carriers recognize the need to be highly proactive if 5G is to realize its promise of being much more than another “G.”
The 5G hype has at times reached a level that appears out of proportion with what a new generation of mobile technology can bring. Some executives, only too well aware of the hard lessons learned with previous mobile technology generations, have tried to manage expectations by occasionally injecting a note of caution. They include Vodafone Group CTO Johan Wibergh who said at the 2016 NGMN conference that: “We need to be careful about what we promise. … I am a little bit worried about over-hyping.”
At the same time, there is certainly a huge opportunity for the mobile sector to exploit the benefits that low latency, high speed, and virtualized 5G networks can bring to businesses and industry alike. With this in mind, Richard has urged businesses to “anticipate their application cases without delay,” and said operators “must be fully mobilized to support them and develop solutions that meet their needs. The story of 5G has to be written together.”
Orange unveiled a number of joint projects to highlight how it is working together with key sectors of the economy, such as the manufacturing industry, energy, and transport.
For example, the Lacroix Group and Orange are working on a project to test 5G in a smart factory. It’s also working with Schneider Electric in the field of industrial production; Renault and Ericsson in the area of connected cars and 5G on performance tests based on a hybrid vehicle-to-anything (V2X) architecture, including network slicing and edge computing technologies; SNCF and Nokia on new in-station services with an initial focus on high-definition video download service for train passengers; and with Paris public transport operator RATP on using 5G for autonomous and connected public transport vehicles.