Orange prepares for the launch of 5G in a troubled context


Orange is preparing to deploy its network 5G by the end of the year in France. But like all operators, it must face uncertainties and an unprecedented climate of tension vis-à-vis this new technology.

Currently, Orange operates approximately “500 5G antennas” on an experimental basis and examines the return of “1200 beta testers from the general public”, as the boss of Orange France Fabienne Dulac said during a meeting this morning with the press. The incumbent operator has signed commercial contracts with OEMs Nokia and Ericsson and submitted applications for authorization to ANSSI to install its antennas. He therefore stands ready to draw.

Refusal of Huawei antennae in Reunion

First bad surprise: he was refused the use of equipment Huawei in Reunion, where its 2G and 3G are already working with the Chinese equipment manufacturer, as is also the case in Mayotte. A delay in the deployment of 5G is therefore to be expected in this department.

Orange is also preparing to face the auction test to obtain frequencies from September 29. Remember that there will be a first auction determining the quantity and a second the positioning. Depending on the results, the deployment plan will have to be adapted.

“The issue is capacity, but not only. It is only once we know our positioning in the frequencies that we can order the OEMs “, explained to us the director of the information system of Orange Marc Blanchet at the same event.

Fabienne Dulac

Defend 5G

Once the equipment has been delivered, the time will come for deployment in an always tense health context. Not to mention that the political and popular protest continues to swell, as evidenced by the platform of last weekend signed by elected environmentalists and elected left to call for a moratorium. Opposition from residents and local elected officials are likely.

So, in the midst of a debate on the usefulness and impact of 5G, the incumbent takes up its pilgrim’s staff to defend the new standard of mobile telephony. Rhetoric is not new. He first puts forward the argument of desaturating the 4G network, which risks congestion by 2022 due to the explosion of uses. But also to allow the emergence of new technologies and to support the economic recovery. “5G is the foundation of future networks”, promises Orange France CEO Fabienne Dulac.

It remains to be seen how the field will react to the installation of 5G antennas. Will there be greater resistance from local elected officials and residents? Or even more degradations ? Against all expectations, Orange does not fear an increase in incidents with 5G.

“The degradation has increased a little more in recent months but has not yet affected any 5G site”, relativizes Fabienne Dulac.

Despite everything, it recognizes increased vigilance on the subject, citing in particular “Now systematic complaints”. Surveillance systems using drones are under study.

“Every time there is social destabilization, there is degradation of infrastructure and this does not only concern telecoms”, concludes the boss of Orange France.

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