LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MBB FORUM 2019, ZURICH: Orange outlined the importance of creating an ecosystem of enterprise customers for 5G networks before commencing a full launch of the technology, to ensure there is a full suite of compatible services available.

Discussing Orange’s plans to deploy the new network technology across its European footprint, Arnaud Vamparys, SVP of radio networks (pictured), said the company had made a “good start” with trials, innovation labs and various schemes in place to engage with third parties and flesh-out use cases.

The executive added it was important to co-innovate with players of all sizes. Ahead of a full 5G launch, Orange has discussed potential uses with companies ranging from innovative early stage start-ups to industrial giants.

Essential elements
Orange is scheduled to switch on the service in a number of its markets in 2020. In the meantime, the operator said it had engaged with more than 1,000 companies with several co-innovation projects already in place. It has also opened trial zones for the technology in 17 urban hubs across its footprint.

“Before launching 5G it is mandatory to create a large ecosystem,” Vamparys explained, noting that in addition to driving industrial interest, the company needed to wait until a range of consumer devices were ready.

“We need sufficient numbers of smartphones and mid-range smartphones,” he said. “We need sufficient coverage in countries and from that we will be able to offer, from day one, an excellent quality of service for our customers.”

Although it is yet to launch in any of its markets, Orange has actively promoted the industrial advantages 5G offers in its markets.

At an event held by its business services division in April, group CEO Stephane Richard pledged to focus its domestic rollout in areas with heavy enterprise footprints.