Orange has now confirmed that it is going to launch an experimental 5G network with the help of a cloud-based open platform and artificial intelligence in July, as the telecom industry sees a paradigm shift in services onto the cloud in a bid to cut costs and modernise.
The company further said that it will build the network in Lannion, northern France, collaborating with companies such as Mavenir, Casa Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Xiaomi.
“This experimental network will enable Orange to understand the customer benefit of a fully clouderised network, as well as AI,” Oranges Chief Technology Officer Michael Trabbia told.Well start small but ramp up quickly to encompass hundreds of users by the end of this year.” Orange hopes to further increase its network, called Pikeo, to other countries in 2022, after it is fully-fledged and able to self-repair thanks to automation and machine learning, with Trabbia noting that Spain might be a good candidate for exportation.
Several telecom companies have been experimenting with a technology called Open Radio Access Network (RAN), which basically takes help from the software to run network functions on the cloud, a feature requiring less physical equipment.
The technology promises to reduce costs for telecom operators by employing cloud-based software and commoditised hardware as compared to proprietary equipment supplied by companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.
Orange further aims to have 100% of its new equipment be compatible with open RAN by 2025, a plan similar to that of Spanish operator Telefonica, as Europe’s telecoms firms face the challenge of ever-accelerating digitalisation amid the pandemic.
“Were seeing big expectations from customers, the industry ... as with the factory of the future: augmented maintenance, high-definition monitoring, logistical elements which were working to optimise thanks to this type of network,” Trabbia added.

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