The network of labs will be opened in 2021, in France and overseas.
Orange says it will deploy a network of 5G Labs this year "in the regions to best meet the needs of local authorities and companies – start-ups, SMEs, big companies – regardless of their sector".
In France, seven sites will host all the companies and local authorities, regardless of their sector. The Orange 5G Lab site in Châtillon (Paris region) opens this week.
The others will be in the French towns of Lille, Lyon-Charbonnières, Marseille, Paris-La Défense, Rennes and Toulouse.
Some sites will specialise in a specific field but will not be devoted exclusively to it. For example, the Lyon lab, located at the Campus Région du Numérique at Charbonnières-les-Bains, will be focused on Industry 4.0.
The Cœur Défense site in the Customer Innovation Centre will be more focused on Orange Business Services’ major clients.
In addition to the sites in France, Orange will open 5G Labs in Bucharest, Romania – in partnership with the University Politehnica of Bucharest to foster the development of commercial projects, research and innovation – and in Belgium.
This lab will be located near the Orange Industry 4.0 campus in the Port of Antwerp where some use cases developed in collaboration with industrial partners at port will be demonstrated.
They include the augmented worker and critical communication systems.
Orange will also set up a 5G challenge for start-ups and developers in Spain at the end of February to develop new applications.
The winners will be supported by the Orange 5G Lab initiative, including access to experts and 5G equipment in France.
According to an Orange study conducted with GlobalWebIndex, 72% of respondents from companies said they expect their operator to provide support for 5G to test, experiment and develop solutions.
The Orange 5G Labs initiative is designed to meet this demand and help companies better understand the opportunities, value and possible uses of 5G.
They will be able to test their solutions and services at the 5G Labs, and think about new uses while taking advantage of an ecosystem to co-innovate and already start changing their business model and processes.
Competition and development
Michäel Trabbia, CTIO at Orange, said, “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.
"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".