Nine new facilities are being opened, seven of which are in France, aiming to offer industry players the opportunity to test and develop 5G use cases

Orange is opening a swath of new 5G labs this year, aiming to bring 5G closer to the companies that will benefit from it the most. Nine new labs will be set up in total, seven of which will be in France, with one in Bucharest, Romania, and another in Antwerp, Belgium.

The first site, in Châtillon, Paris, opened yesterday, with the rest to follow over the course of the year.

The initiative follows research conducted by Orange that suggested that 72% of companies expect their operator to provide support regarding 5G when it comes to testing and developing the new technology in a business or industrial setting.

“We believe that 5G will drive business competition and regional development. This is why Orange is involved in a co-innovation approach focused on 5G to create the uses of the future,” explained Michäel Trabbia, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Orange. “Having a local presence close to these players is a key part of the Orange 5G Labs initiative, to support the digital transformation of economic players and to help everyone take advantage of 5G’s potential.”

While these new labs will be available for all companies regardless of their sector, some of them may still be specialised; for example, the Lyon lab will focus on Industry 4.0, while the La Défense site in Paris will instead target the needs of Orange Business Services’ major clients.

Similarly, the overseas labs also have more specific goals, with the Bucharest site working in partnership with the University Politehnica of Bucharest to foster the development of commercial projects, research, and innovation. The Antwerp site will be located near the Orange Industry 4.0 campus at the Port of Antwerp, where industrial 5G use cases have already been developed.

There will also be opportunities for 5G start-ups and developers in Spain, with a 5G application challenge set to take place at the end of this month, with winners being granted access to experts and 5G equipment in France.

For Orange, co-innovation appears to be at the heart of their 5G adoption strategy and, with the pandemic putting the economies of Europe under immense pressure, the economic benefits of the new technology cannot come fast enough. 


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