Eurobites: Orange Preps 5G Launch in 17 European Cities

In today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange unveils initial 5G plans; the latest boardroom shenanigans at TIM; Turkcell builds TV App Store with Metrological; ADVA unveils its Ensemble Controller.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) will next year roll out 5G technology in 17 major European cities across Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Spain as it prepares for a full-scale commercial launch in 2020, the French telecom incumbent announced at its annual Hello show in Paris Wednesday morning. CEO Stephane Richard said customers in those cities would be able to try services in 2019 and that businesses rather than consumers would be the first to use 5G technology ahead of mass-market smartphone availability. Richard also indicated that Orange will organize a "forum" with industrial partners and startups next spring "to talk about the best way to harness 5G for businesses." The remarks came amid some industry concern about the lack of viable 5G "use cases" in non-consumer markets. "We need to identify company needs in each business sector," said Richard. In a further effort to advance its 5G ambitions, the French operator has today opened a new lab at its Orange Gardens facility in Chatillon, where it is currently testing live, ultra-high-definition broadcasting over a 5G network. The news came as part of a broader set of announcements that included cybersecurity, networked home and AI-related developments. (See Orange's 5G Plan: Definitely, Maybe.)

  • But before anyone gets carried away about the immediate potential of 5G networks to meet specific enterprise needs, a word of caution from Orange's senior VP of Strategy. Talking at an analyst briefing organized by the GSMA, he poured some water on the network slicing flames, as Patrick Donegan, noted industry analyst and founder of research outfit Hardenstance, noted in this tweet:

  • If you thought things were calming down at Telecom Italia (TIM) , you were wrong. Having seen its preferred CEO given the order of the boot last month, Vivendi is agitating for a board meeting to propose new auditors and five new board members, in a bid to wrest back control from activist investor Elliott management. For the full details on these shenanigans, see this article from our sister publication, Telecoms.com: Vivendi inevitably tries to get rid of some Elliott directors.

  • Speaking of TIM... it's the latest operator to claim a 5G first, this time for a 5G NR video call over a millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency band, a feat achieved with the help of Qualcomm. (See TIM, Qualcomm Boast 5G Video Call First.)

  • Turkcell has developed an integrated, customized TV App Store, which is available to all Turkcell TV+ subscribers, using Metrological's platform. Using Metrological's Application Platform, Turkcell can source localized and international content from the vendor's library of more than 300 TV apps. (See Turkcell Picks Metrological for TV App Store .)

  • ADVA Optical Networking has added to its portfolio of telco cloud tools with the launch of its Ensemble Controller, which "empowers customers to easily transition from manual management to automated operations." And who doesn't want that, eh? According to ADVA, the controller helps operators that have ADVA technology in their networks to "smoothly evolve their traditional network management to an orchestrator-based multi-vendor system" by integrating with its NFV products for "seamless management and operation of physical and virtual infrastructure." The Ensemble Controller's SDN interfaces interoperate with a number of key multi-domain controllers, including Juniper's NorthStar Controller, NEC/Netcracker's product, Nokia's Network Services Platform, Sedona Systems' controller, ONOS and OpenDaylight.

    — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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