Proximus and Orange Belgium have selected Nokia to gradually upgrade their existing 2G/3G/4G mobile Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment by 2023, while the Finnish supplier will also be a key partner in the deployment of their 5G networks. The two operators, which share their mobile networks, have faced political pressure to drop Huawei as a supplier amid security concerns. Proximus notes the decision follows a thorough competitive selection process, based on technological, operation, financial and environmental criteria.
Having launched the country’s first and only 5G public network on 1 April, Proximus has also chosen Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Mobile Data Core, a solution which is cloud native by design and supports 5G NR Stand-Alone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA), 4G, 3G and 2G technologies. Orange Belgium’s 5G radio network, meanwhile, will initially be associated with its existing core network – provided by Ericsson – which is already able to work with the 5G radio infrastructure in NSA mode. In parallel, Orange Belgium is preparing the future evolution of its core network to support 5G SA, in order to offer the full 5G end-to-end functionalities in a second step (e.g. network slicing and guaranteed performance). Orange Luxembourg, a subsidiary of Orange Belgium, has also announced the selection of Nokia for the deployment of its 5G network, which is scheduled for launch by the end of the year.
Proximus CTO Geert Standaert said: ‘The decision to collaborate with Nokia and Ericsson is crucial in the execution of our network strategy. Together, we will work hard to build a best-in-class, open, reliable and sustainable mobile network to the benefit of the whole country.’
Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium, commented: ‘We are thrilled to start a new partnership with Nokia to roll out a best-in-class, energy-efficient and future-proof mobile radio access network in Belgium, based on the core network provided by Ericsson, in order to ensure the best user experience for residential and business customers, be it on 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G.’