Orange announced plans for new 5G access trials starting later this year in France and Romania. It also revealed that it will be working on the design of a ‘smart’ antenna for 4G/5G connectivity in partnership with Nokia and Kathrein, a Germany-based manufacturer of antennas for communications, according Telecompaper. Currently in prototype phase, the new device will be compact enough to be installed on existing mobile towers, said the operator.
In France, Orange is preparing to launch end-to-end 5G testing in the cities of Lille and Douai between mid-2018 and mid-2019, once it receives the necessary authorisation from telecom regulator Arcep. These technical tests will be carried out using Ericsson's 5G equipment.
Also in France, Orange will set up a test network in the autumn to research 5G connectivity for autonomous vehicles, working with Ericsson. This project is part of Orange’s collaboration with Utac Ceram, a French-based group specialising in vehicle testing and certification. As Utac Ceram's 4G/5G connectivity partner, Orange will also provide high-speed mobile coverage at the company's facilities in Linas-Montlhery (Ile-de-France region).
In Romania, Orange will test 5G-based fixed access under real conditions during the second half of 2018, with partners Samsung and Cisco. The operator will be researching how this type of fixed access can complement its fibre-based network strategy in Europe, primarily in the residential market, but also looking at use cases for business customers, such as back-up solutions.