Orange selected vendors Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network in home market France, as Huawei continued to face scrutiny about the security of its equipment in Europe.
In a statement, Orange explained it had chosen the vendors after months of testing, with both contracted to provide a package of products and services to enable deployment of 5G across France.
The partnership with Nokia is focused on the west and southeast regions of France, where the company already supplies 2G, 3G and 4G in the mobile RAN.
Ericsson will deploy equipment in the Ile de France region, the northeast and southwest, where it already has a presence.
Orange France CEO Fabienne Dulac said the deployment of 5G “represents a huge challenge and is one of the main priorities of our Engage 2025 strategic plan”.
The company is expected to launch commercial 5G services in France this year, once the country’s regulator holds a spectrum auction which is tipped to be held in March.
Orange’s decision comes in a week where Huawei faced the spotlight in Europe over its 5G involvement in the continent.
The UK barred Huawei from core parts of 5G networks, but will allow the Chinese vendor a minority presence of up to 35 per cent in access parts of the infrastructure.
This was followed by the European Commission issuing a slate of guidelines for member states regarding the security of 5G networks, although it did not mandate a ban on Huawei, stating it was up to individual governments to decide on the vendor’s role.
At the end of 2019, Orange CEO Stephane Richard indicated Huawei could play a role in the company’s rollout. Reuters reported he testified to French politicians that some of the allegations about Huawei were “complete nonsense”.