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Orange Belgium opens 5G SA lab in Antwerp to incubate new start ups


Looking for new ways of exploiting private networks

Orange Belgium has opened a 5G Lab in Antwerp for testing and developing new ideas for using 5G Stand Alone (SA) network technology. 

The lab is Orange’s eighth in a pan European network designed to foster invention and encourage collaboration as the telco seeks to enervate its supply chain.

The operator is aiming to entice new talent into conversations with Orange’s partnership managers as it seeks to dramatically expand its roster of talented partners needed for an infrastructure building strategy based on open systems. 

Most mobile operators in Europe need to embark on aggressive expansion and diversification  of their network building supply chain, according to market intelligence from Disruptive Analysis. Supply chain diversification has taken on greater across the world, according to lead analyst Dean Bubley.

Nurturing new talent in labs

The labs will also create a demonstration and testing area for use by customers, says Orange. 

In April 2021, the first three 5G-focused start-ups were recruited through the Orange Fab acceleration programme and given access to Orange’s 5G Lab programme and links to others in the community of developers. In the new Antwerp installation, situated in The Beacon in the port city of Antwerp, the operator will concentrate on the new 5G SA standard and explore ways to solve business problems and make money out of the private networking concept.

The programme of ‘discovery’ is based on explanation, demonstration and animation, according to Orange, which promises to recreate authentic industrial conditions for the creatives to work with. In the event of a new use case being invented in the Lab it should easily be ported and deployed to the customers’ premises and ‘scaled up’.

Create value for Belgium - and beyond

A comprehensive range of equipment available will include certified 5G devices such as routers, smartphones, tablets, smart glasses and cameras already tested and validated by Orange engineers.

“This 5G Lab is an important new step towards unlocking the full potential of 5G SA technology and delivering concrete business value,” said Werner De Laet, chief enterprise, wholesale and innovation officer at Orange Belgium, “we will create value for the whole Belgian economy and even beyond.”

Across Europe 140 businesses have explored 5G in details with Orange, said Karine Dussert-Sarthe, innovation marketing and design EVP for the Orange Group. At least 41 of them have been helped to develop protypes for 5G SA services.