Orange Belgium is deploying a 5G stand-alone core network on a cloud-native architecture together with its partners Ericsson, Nokia and Oracle, allowing virtualized end-to-end networks and combining the best of technical, IT and data management solutions. Together they show the full potential of 5G while investing in next-generation services.
Orange Belgium’s 5G stand-alone core network on a cloud-native architecture enables network slicing, a network feature where each isolated slice is independent and can have its own resources. Each slice is tailored to meet the varying characteristics of applications in the most efficient and flexible ways possible. Orange Belgium’s technical team works closely with the Orange Group Innovation Network team, which has been co-preparing the integration, and with Ericsson for the Packet Core, Oracle Communications for the Signaling and Routing Network Functions, Nokia for the Subscriber Data Management, and the New Radio.
Networking the future of telecommunication
5G Stand-alone (5G SA) is the final form of 5G. The Radio Access, the transport and the Core network are all dedicated to 5G, which can maximize the potential of 5G networks. 5G SA increases network resilience and quality of service control for business applications.
The deployment of 5G SA solutions in Orange Belgium enables the future development of value-added, on-demand and customized services for consumer markets and industry 4.0 services such as Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) and Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) services. As such, Orange Belgium secures its position as a next-generation network operator, moving forward with the use of multigigabit networks.
5G SA brings increased performance in terms of uplink data rates for the end user and lower latency, and for businesses it meets the need for flexible, scalable, reliable and secure connectivity for real-time uses. It’s possible to virtually slice the Orange 5G network (also known as “network slicing”), prioritize certain slices to cover critical uses or specific needs and offer different levels of quality and security. 5G SA and network slicing also allows Orange to evolve its range of virtual mobile private network solutions. According to enterprise customers’ needs, a first option is to create a virtual private network on Orange’s public network. A second solution is to create a hybrid private network relying on shared equipment in the Orange network and dedicated equipment at the customer's site for critical flows and data.
Chief Technology Officer Stefan Slavnicu commented: “Our biggest ambition is to support the progress in the telecommunication sector in the best way possible. Orange Belgium constantly invests in state-of-the-art technology to provide best-in-class performances to its customers. We are moving towards a more customer-focused approach on the network side. We want to pave the way for next-generation services that will be deployed for all our customers, whether on owned or on third-party infrastructures.”
Ari Kynäslahti, Head of Strategy and Technology at Nokia Mobile Networks, said: “5G stand-alone is the final stage of 5G New Radio and the foundation for some of the most transformative use cases such as cloud gaming or extended reality. Nokia’s industry-leading 5G AirScale network portfolio and Subscriber Data Management deliver best-in-class connectivity and support mobile operators rapidly transitioning to 5G stand-alone networks. We are proud to continue our successful, long-standing partnership with Orange and support their goal of delivering world-class 5G infrastructure to their customers.”
Andrew Morawski, SVP & GM, Oracle Communications, Networks, comments: “Oracle and Orange have a long and successful history working together to deliver 3G, 4G and now 5G services, and we are proud to have collaborated with them in reaching this important milestone. Orange Belgium's decision to use Oracle signaling and routing solutions for 5G SA reinforces their strategy to employ best-in-class solutions to build the most capable 5G network and deliver the most compelling enterprise services to their customers.”
Fabrice Sancho, general manager of Ericsson Belgium & Luxembourg says: “As a long-standing partner to Orange Belgium, Ericsson is proud to accompany Orange Belgium in tapping into the full potential of 5G. The Ericsson cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core has been instrumental, enabling Orange to leverage its existing core network and giving them a mobile network that is ready to be deployed in a flexible and agile way to meet the needs of its consumer and enterprise customers as they seek to take advantage of this new technology.”
On the road to 5G and next-generation services
Following the inauguration of the first 5G Lab in Antwerp and with a new 5G Lab opening soon in Liège, Orange Belgium has intensified its activities in preparation of delivering 5G to its customers. In June 2022, Orange Belgium obtained the maximum amount of the new 5G spectrum bands available for auction. With 200 MHz of spectrum acquired, the operator is able to provide high-quality coverage and capacity for 5G network services.
By gradually deploying a better performing 5G network in Belgium, Orange Belgium is simultaneously counting on the development of more energy-efficient technology. The fifth generation of mobile networks has been designed to be more sustainable than previous generations. As an example, smart antennas can now be activated on demand. Therefore, 5G antennas require only half as much energy per gigabits transported than with 4G. By 2025, 5G is set to be up to ten times more efficient than the 2019 generation.