Orange to build Europe’s first 5G SA experimental cloud-native network. Paris 30th June 2021, Orange unveiled plans for a two-year trial of Europe’s first standalone (SA) end-to-end 5G cloud-native network in northern France, announcing a group of open RAN, cloud, and equipment manufacturers as partners for the deployment.
In a cloud-native mode, Orange will deliver Europe’s first 5G Stand Alone (SA) fully end-to-end cloud network – from devices to IS. The network’s key partners have been named. The experimental network, which will go live in July in Lannion, France, will serve as a blueprint for the next generation of more efficient and agile networks as Orange moves toward a “zero-touch network” and continues to differentiate and lead through the quality of experience it provides to its customers.
Orange’s experimental network will be a 100 percent software-enabled network, data and AI-driven, fully automated, and cloud-native, and will be a vital step in realizing its vision of the future of networks. It will also include Open RAN technology, demonstrating the company’s commitment to this technology. Orange will gain a better understanding of how different technologies coexist and affect the network lifecycle by developing and operating this network.
Orange is now collaborating with partners who can handle all areas of the network, from devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). Mavenir for cloud 5G Open RAN, Casa Systems for cloud 5G SA core network, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for Cloud 5G SA SDM are among the project’s first partners.
Dell Technologies for infrastructure and servers supporting RAN (Subscriber Data Management). For devices, there is a centralized unit, a distributed unit, a core, and Xiaomi. Orange makes use of a continuous font as well. Open source solutions for integration and continuous deployment, as well as orchestration to automate network and service administration, including GitLab and ONAP.
The new network includes the deployment of a fully automated core and the setup of Open RAN and core functions on a single Kubernetes-based infrastructure managed by Orange. The network will begin employing and testing O-RAN radio equipment and CNFs (Containerized Network Functions) on a trial basis in July with AI automation, cloud infrastructure, and network data collection. The experimental network will also house the Information System OSS (Operations Support System – network inventory management and network operations), BSS (Business Support System – CRM and billing), as well as scaling Orange’s ambition to secure, optimize, and predict the network’s behavior using AI. The network will be expanded to other places in 2022 to increase the number of users and to investigate vertical use-cases using dynamic network slicing.
Michaël Trabbia, Chief Technology, and Innovation Officer, Orange, commented: “Our ambition is to
prepare Orange for the operator of the future by building more resilient and auto-adaptive networks
that offer best in class quality of service in each situation. This experimental network represents an
important milestone on our way to implement and deploy Open RAN and AI technologies to prepare
on-demand connectivity and zero-touch operator capabilities.
Explaining the rationale behind the trial at a press conference she said , “technology is maturing quite fast but is not yet carrier grade and we still need to work on it,” pointing to the fact it was “critical” to assess this technology completely before full-scale rollout.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications carriers with a turnover of €42.3 billion in 2020 and 140,000
employees as of March 31, 2021, of whom 80,000 are in France. The Group has a total customer base of 262 million
customers worldwide on March 31, 2021, including 217 million mobile customers and 22 million fixed broadband customers.
The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to
multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services