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France's Orange Picks Nokia and Ericsson to Deploy Its 5G

French telecoms giant Orange will be working with mobile networking equipment supplies Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network, the three companies announced, and not China's Huawei.

Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson will be providing a package of products and services to enable the deployment of 5G across France, Orange said in a statement, in an end-to-end deal that includes Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technologies, advanced automation, network management, and "associated professional services."

Orange said it chose the two companies because they have "demonstrated the quality of their products, their support and commitment to a high-quality customer experience on the mobile network for many years." The decision was made after months of testing, Orange said, but both suppliers have been working with the French telecom for years.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the recent efforts by the United States to convince European allies to ban Huawei from its telecoms networks because of security concerns influenced Orange's decisions. The French company said its decision was made after months of testing all three providers' offerings, and both Nokia and Ericsson have been working with the company for years.

In fact, the partnership with Nokia is focused on the West and South-East regions of France, where it already supplies 2G, 3G, and 4G via its radio access network. And the partnership with Ericsson is focused on the Ile de France, North-East and South-West regions, where that company already supplies 2G, 3G, and 4G on its mobile RAN.

"For Orange, the deployment of 5G represents a huge challenge and is one of the main priorities of our Engage 2025 strategic plan," said Orange CEO Fabienne Dulac, in a statement. "We are delighted to be pursuing our partnerships with both Nokia and Ericsson, two key long-term partners, 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. Through these agreements, Orange reaffirms its ambition to being network leader."

The initial 5G rollout will come primarily in the form of software upgrades to the networks. Nokia will also introduce 5G New Radio-based AirScale hardware, and software for new frequency bands.

Like the UK, the EU decided to allow member countries to make their own decisions about how much or how little Huawei Technologies to deploy in their 5G networks, and resisting pressure from the US for an outright ban.

Huawei did not immediately return calls for comment.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at jwaters@converge360.com.


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