Orange split contracts to supply standalone (SA) 5G core networks in six of its European operations between Nokia and Ericsson, with the Swedish vendor winning four deals including in Spain, and the Finnish provider getting the nod in the operator’s home market of France.
Alongside Spain, Ericsson will supply Orange’s new 5G core in Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland. Nokia’s SA 5G core will be used France and Slovakia, with Orange also using Nokia’s subscriber data management platform across all countries.
The operator also announced Oracle Communications as its supplier for core signaling and routing across the markets. All other network functions, it added, will use existing equipment with software upgrades.
Orange plans to begin commercial deployment of the new core networks during 2023, with additional testing and preparation set to take place this year. It has already been trialing the technology in its labs.
Once the new network kit is in place the operator indicated it would be able to slice its 5G network and prioritise service availability for specific uses. It noted this would open the door to evolved private network deployments, including by the formation of a VPN on its public network.
It also pointed to the option to create a hybrid private network using shared equipment in Orange’s infrastructure together with dedicated kit located at its customers’ sites for data and other critical elements.