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Mobile network operator (MNO) Orange is to begin tests of 5G mobile network technology in Paris in the coming months as commercial roll-out of the next generation of mobile networks nears.
French telecoms regulator Arcep recently reached agreement on the allocation of frequencies in the 3.4-3.8Ghz range, giving local MNOs an opportunity to conduct tests reflecting customer expectations and changes in connectivity requirements.
The operator has already been testing elements of 5G in the cities of Douai, Lille and Marseille, as well as in Romania, and hopes to use its new testbeds to improve network quality and develop new services.
The three new locations are at its flagship store at Opéra in central Paris, where it will build a demonstration network to show off to consumers, in the suburb of Châtillon and at the Linas-Montlhéry race track, to the south of the French capital.
At Châtillon, Orange plans to construct a 5G laboratory to enable partners to test 5G products and services, focusing in particular on services that may be relevant to consumers, such as virtual and augmented reality, immersive communications, and 4K and 8K video.
At Linas-Montlhéry, which hosted two French Grand Prix races in the 1920s, Orange will explore 5G for connected and autonomous vehicles, working in collaboration with automakers and French transport authorities to assess 5G and develop new models for an intelligent transport ecosystem.
The operator, which is basing its 5G strategy on enhanced mobile and fixed broadband services and enterprise digital transformation, has already been testing consumer 5G services using a fixed-wireless network in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
This test network, which was made available to 15 volunteer households and a local branch of supermarket Carrefour, attained downlink speeds of 1Gbps over a 1km distance, with aggregated download throughputs hitting 3Gbps during low-usage periods.