Orange France has selected Nokia to evolve its mobile access network towards 5G technology, the Finnish vendor said in a release.

Under the terms of the deal, Nokia will provide Orange, for a broad part of France, with a range of products and services from its end-to-end 5G portfolio, including Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technology, advanced automation tools, a network management solution and associated professional services.

The vendor highlighted that this new infrastructure investment will allow Orange France to improve customer experience, boost network capacity, enable further automation and create new innovative services that require ultra-high bandwidth and low latency in areas such as industrial IoT, health and public safety among others.

Nokia will initially support Orange’s 5G commercial launch by enabling the rollout of its SRAN network to 5G through software upgrades. It will also introduce 5G New Radio (5G NR)-based AirScale hardware, and software for the new 5G frequency bands.

Fabienne Dulac, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and CEO of Orange France, said: “For Orange, the deployment of 5G represents a huge challenge and is one of the main priorities of our Engage 2025 strategic plan. We are delighted to be pursuing our partnership with Nokia, a key long-term partner, in order to develop a powerful and innovative 5G network. 5G will enable the development of new use-cases and new services, and will provide an enriched experience for our customers – both in the consumer and business segments.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “Nokia has exactly the right technology for this project, given our excellence in SRAN, 5G and end-to-end network infrastructure leadership. This deal builds on our long-standing trusted relationship with Orange and will deliver a superior experience for businesses and consumers alike.”

Arnaud Vamparys, 5G sponsor and senior vice president for radio networks at Orange, previously told RCR Wireless News that Orange is in the process of gradually deploying 5G on existing 4G sites across France. “5G will be installed in four cities in 2019 and ready for commercial release in 2020, as long as frequencies and enough 5G smartphones are available. 2020 is not the finish line; it will actually be the start,” Vamparys said.

French telecom regulator Arcep recently said that it is ready to conduct the allocation procedure of frequencies in the 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz band, so that the first commercially available 5G services can be launched in 2020.

The regulator’s head Sebastien Soriano previously told French newspaper Le Figaro that the 5G auction would likely take place in April 2020.

Earlier this month, Nokia announced that it had reached a total of 63 commercial 5G contracts worldwide. The company said that some of the customers include AT&T, KDDI, Korea Telecom, LG Uplus, NTT DOCOMO, O2, SK Telecom, SoftBank, Sprint, STC, T-Mobile US, Verizon, Vodafone Italy and Zain Saudi Arabia.

Nokia highlighted that these 63 signed commercial contracts exclude any other type of 5G agreements, such as paid network trials, pilots or demonstrations. Including these agreements, the total number of 5G agreements would reach over 100.



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