Orange Plans To Launch 5G In Africa And The Middle East

Orange revealed that it plans to bring 5G services to Africa and the Middle East (AME) from 2020, but there are still some challenges to overcome, especially when it comes to low-cost network infrastructure solutions and power consumption.

The Senior VP of radio networks at Orange, Arnaud Vamparys declared at an event in London last week that 4G had not done enough for the African continent, which is a major strategic region for Orange.

Orange has deployed 4G in 14 markets in the AME region, and currently has over 15 million customers utilising 4G services, but the telecoms operator is searching for more cost-efficient solutions that will boost the number of mobile data service users. The operator believes that 5G will help in that quest.
But a lot needs to be done before 5G is deemed ready to roll out in any market.

In terms of its architectures and developments, 5G is currently too complex. Deploying a 5G core is going to be a complicated process.
Also, a functioning 5G network will need a reliable telco cloud (virtualised) architecture, to provide the agility required to support 5G services, but SDN and NFV technologies are still in the early stages of development, and the global operator industry is still struggling to agree on a uniform approach to virtualisation.

Mobile networks also need to be more power efficient. Currently, 25% of mobile network operating costs go towards investing in power and, according to Vamparys, 5G is not yet optimised for power optimisation as it should be.

However, Vamparys believes that these issues can be resolved and that, from 2020 going forward, Orange will start delivering fixed wireless broadband, enhanced mobile broadband, massive Machine Type Communications (IoT) and low-latency services across all its operating companies.

Orange is committed to ensuring that the AME region does not lag in a communications networking revolution that could bring better and more affordable services to users in Africa.

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