France announces 11 mmWave trials at 26G Hz: Many different use cases and multiple tech companies participating

The French government has announced details of 11 trial 5G projects that will be awarded to use 26GHz spectrum.  The government and telecom regulatory agency (Arcep) said it had received 15 applications for projects, with 11 approved to be progressed.  Logistics, smart city, mobility, sports events coverage: more than a dozen projects responded to the call to create trial platforms.

Projects will be awarded 26GHz spectrum for a period of three years. They must have a working network by January 2021 and they must make that network available to third parties.  Arcep said it would be announcing more projects in the coming weeks.

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Background: In January 2019, the French Government and Arcep issued a joint call for the creation of 5G trial platforms that would be open to third parties, and using the 26 GHz band – aka the millimetre wave band. The aim of this call was to pave the way for all players to embrace the possibilities this frequency band provides, and to discover new uses for 5G.   Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France’s Secretary of State to the Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Sébastien Soriano, Chair of the Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority/ Telecom Agency (Arcep), presented the first eleven projects that have been selected.

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The 11 trials of mmWave technology in France will include several different use cases, while also involving different technology companies. Several of the projects are being led by enterprise tech companies which do not specialize in telecommunications:

The first project will be led by Universcience, at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, and will focus on public engagement. The La Cité des sciences et de l’industrie 5G trial platform will showcase use cases to the public, through open events, as well as temporary and permanent exhibitions.

The second, at the Vélodrome National, will bring together Nokia, Qualcomm, Airbus and France Television to understand how 5G can aid sports media. Low latency and increased bandwidth will be key topics here, as will the integration of artificial intelligence for operational efficiency and augmented reality to improve consumer experience.

The third trial will pair Bordeaux Métropole, the local authority, with Bouygues Telecom and will endeavor to capitalize on public lighting networks to deploy new infrastructures.

The Port of Le Havre will lead the fourth trial alongside the Le Havre Seine Métropole urban community, Siemens, EDF and Nokia. This initiative will explore 5G applications in a port and industry-related environments, with use-cases such as operating smart grids and recharging electric vehicles.

At the Nokia Paris-Saclay campus, trials will be conducted in a real-world environment, both indoors and outdoors, thanks to Nokia 5G antennae installed at different heights on the rooftops, and in work areas. This project also includes a start-up incubator program.

The Paris La Défense planning development agency and its partners have submitted another interesting usecase. With 5G CAPEX budget strained already, the Government department will test the feasibility and viability of owning infrastructure and selling turnkey access to operators. This might erode coverage advantages which some telcos might seek, though in assuming ownership (and the cost) of network deployment, the 5G journey might well be a bit smoother in France.

The seventh trial will pair Bouygues Telecom with France’s national rail company, SNCF, at the Lyon Part-Dieu train station. Tests will focus on consumer applications, such as VR and AR, as well as how transportation companies can make best use of data and connectivity to enhance operations. The eighth trial will also be led by Bouygues Telecom, focusing on industrial IOT in the city of Saint-Priest.

Orange will oversee two trials at part of the wider scheme, with the first taking place in Rennes railway station with SNCF and Nokia. Once again, part of this trial will focus on consumer applications, making waiting a ‘more pleasant experience’, with the rest focusing on industrial applications such as remote maintenance using augmented reality.

The second Orange trial will focus on various 5G use cases in heavily trafficked areas, such as enhanced multimedia experiences for people on the move and cloud gaming. This trial is supposed to be generic, and another opportunity for start-ups to pitch and validate their ideas in a live lab.

The 26GHz spectrum band will allow us to explore new services based on 5G,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Orange. “We are aiming to set-up experimental platforms that will stimulate collaboration on these new use-cases across all economic sectors.”

With the spectrum licenses live from October 7th, the trials are now officially up-and-running. Each of the projects must have a live network operational by January 2021 at the latest and have to make it available to third parties to perform their own 5G trials.

This is perhaps one of the most interesting schemes worldwide not only because of the breadth and depth of the usecases being discussed, but the variety of companies which are being brought into the fray. Although the telco industry does constantly discuss the broadening of the ecosystem, realistically the power resides with a small number of very influential vendors.

This is a complaint which does seem to be attracting more headlines at the moment. If you look at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) being championed by Facebook, the aim is to commoditize the hardware components in the network, while decoupling them from software. Ultimately, the project is driving towards a more open and accessible ecosystem.

France’s initiative here could have the same impact. By designating enterprise companies and local municipalities as leaders in the projects, instead of the same old telcos and vendors, new ideas and new models have the potential to flourish. This looks like a very positive step forward for the French digital economy.

References:

https://en.arcep.fr/news/press-releases/p/n/5g-6.html

http://telecoms.com/500186/france-pushes-forward-with-trials-of-much-hyped-mmwave-airwaves/

http://the-mobile-network.com/2019/10/arcep-picks-a-first-xi-for-5g-mmwave-trials/

One thought on “France announces 11 mmWave trials at 26G Hz: Many different use cases and multiple tech companies participating

  1. France announces first eleven projects for 5G trials in 26 GHz band
    Tuesday 8 October 2019 | 12:07 CET | News

    The award of 5G trial spectrum in the 26 GHz band, unveiled by French regulator Arcep in January, has led to the green light for the first eleven initiatives put forward by industry players. The government and Arcep had invited applications for projects that would create 5G pilot platforms open to third parties, with the aim to encourage involvement in the trials from companies outside the telecom sector.

    Awarding the licences, valid for up to three years, Arcep said that these first trial networks will need to be operational by 01 January 2021 at the latest. The regulator will also be examining more applications over the coming weeks.

    Orange, one of two network operators securing trial spectrum, has already confirmed details of its planned 26 GHz testing sites in Chatillon and Rennes.

    Bouygues Telecom has been awarded licences for three projects, covering four different locations. One of the three initiatives, located in the technology park of Velizy-Villacoublay, will encourage collaboration with third parties via the operator’s SmartX_5G business incubator, announced in July 2018.

    Bouygues’ other two trial sites will be located in Lyon’s Part-Dieu train station, in collaboration with France’s national rail company SNCF, and in the nearby city of Saint-Priest, where the operator will partner with local SMEs to test B2B services such as industrial IoT applications.

    Bouygues’ network expertise will also be at the centre of the 5G pilot approved in Bordeaux and led by the city’s local authority (Bordeaux Metropole), which plans to use the public street lighting system to deploy 5G infrastructure.

    One of the other projects has been put forward by the Paris-Saclay Nokia Campus, where the equipment maker will test new use cases with a group of start-ups. The company, which is collaborating with Orange on the 5G trial in Rennes, will also take part in two other winning projects. One of them will be located at the National Velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a future Olympic Games site. The other will test applications relating to smart grids and logistical operations in the port of Le Havre, in partnership with Siemens and EDF.

    Paris will host two more 5G trials selected in the spectrum award. The first will be led by the planning development agency responsible for the business district of La Defense, while the second will be organised by two of the city’s science museums, the Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie and the Palais de la Decouverte.

    https://www.telecompaper.com/news/france-announces-first-eleven-projects-for-5g-trials-in-26-ghz-band–1311226

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