Orange CTIO Michael Trabbia unveiled a plan to solely deploy open RAN compatible network equipment from 2025, but emphasised the switch would not constitute an attack on the share of existing European vendors Nokia and Ericsson.
During an event detailing the company’s plan to modernise its network footprint, Trabbia said the move to open technology would provide opportunities for new players, but not at the expense of Europe’s networking heavyweights.
“Open RAN will be important to have more agility and more automation in the network, but the objective is certainly not to attack our existing providers,” he said, pointing to opportunities for new entrants in replacing companies restricted in Europe and in specialist areas.
“This is not something that is against Nokia and Ericsson and they are very important contributors to the O-RAN Alliance,” he added, noting Orange wanted to “encourage a strong European open RAN ecosystem”.
Trabbia emphasised it was important to ensure Europe did not lose its position at the forefront of the vendor ecosystem with the change in approach to network technology.
Trabbia explained Orange was in the process of conducting a fully virtual and automated network trial which is expected to be able to host customers by the end of 2021.
This is part of preparations to deploy its next generation infrastructure focused on creating resilient, agile networks to deliver sustainable consumer and business technologies.
The executive expects AI to be increasingly used to improve network performance alongside automation, and software and cloud innovations.
As part of its evolution Orange plans to begin European market migration to standalone 5G in 2023 following widescale trials in 2022.
The group also aims to pilot 5G in some of its operations in the Middle East and Africa later this year, citing affordable devices as an issue potentially delaying this in parts of the region.
It also plans measures to further reduce its environmental impact, including moves to encourage device recycling and network evolutions in 5G and in the creation of 6G.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back