Belgian operators quarrel over 5G networks in companies – News

As the auction of 5G spectrum is fast approaching, Belgian telecom operators are looking at their strategic maps. And there are definitely different nuances, certainly around ‘private 5G’.

It is gradually becoming clear how 5G providers are profiling themselves in the market. Data News, together with Orange Belgium, Proximus and Telenet, brought our three major mobile operators around a virtual debate table. It is expected that the three will also win the required 5G spectrum during the auction. Although Citymesh (part of the Cegeka group) and NRB are of course also candidates.

During the debate with the three major operators, it is clear at first that they agree on a large part: the mobile future looks hybrid – 5G will come along with 4G and 3G will not disappear just yet – and their own ecosystems and services will ultimately make the difference. For operators, 5G is clearly also becoming a B2B story and not just a faster network for consumers. “5G is changing the way a business works. In the industry, for example, 5G could be the key that brings IT and OT together,” says Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise Officer at Orange Belgium. ‘5G is a driving force for innovation. Each sector will search and find applications for 5G. ” Anne-Sophie Lotgering, Chief Enterprise Market Officer at Proximus. ‘Initially, 5G is more relevant for B2B than B2C,’ says Geert Degenootle, Executive VP at Telenet Business.

In many sectors, MPN has real added value as an enabler for innovation.

Anne-Sophie Lotgering (Proximus) © Trends / DN

Private network: but how?

The discussion revealed differences when it comes to implementing ‘private 5G’ networks for businesses. According to Proximus, in practice, companies mainly see the benefits of a 5G MPN (Mobile Private Network). They use a local 5G network on a private site – such as a corporate site or a production hall – to provide a location with coverage. ‘An MPN offers even more benefits than the public network,’ says Anne-Sophie Lotgering. »The company has full control over its own network. There is no interference and even less latency. The biggest advantage, however, is that all data remains in place. ‘

‘I doubt if MPN makes sense, especially in Belgium’, Werner De Laet argued immediately. “Our companies are not big enough to really benefit from economies of scale. Do not forget that you are not just installing a 5G MPN as an alternative to Wi-Fi. ‘ Werner De Laet also has reservations about the costs. ‘When a company itself maintains its private 5G network, it actually assumes the role of operator. That’s exactly what most companies do not want. ‘ Orange sees more advantage in the hybrid model, where a company uses a private part on the public 5G network. ‘Then I think you quickly end up with 30% cheaper,’ says Werner De Laet.

When a company itself maintains its private 5G network, it actually assumes the role of operator. This is exactly what most companies do not want.

Werner De Laet (Orange), DN
Werner De Laet (Orange) © DN

Anne-Sophie Lotgering agrees that MPN may not be suitable for SMEs. ‘But Belgium is rich in sectors that are early users of new technologies, such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and the public sector. MPN has real added value as an enabler for innovation ‘, she says. Proximus has already set up MPNs at the Fabriek Logistiek logistics test center in Ghent. Proximus created the first Belgian 5G MPN for A6K in Charleroi, a network organization for technology companies.

Cutting on the public network will prove to be the better approach in the long run.

Geert Degezelle (Telenet), DN
Geert Degenootle (Telenet) © DN

However, running a 5G MPN involves more than just setting up the network, as Telenet Business also says. ‘There are undoubtedly valid cases for 5G MPN’, says Geert Degenootle. ‘But I see this solution more as an intermediate step, after which cutting out on the public network will eventually prove to be the better approach.’ With slicing, an application is allocated a portion of the bandwidth – a ‘slice’ – on the public 5G network. Anne-Sophie Lotgering is not convinced that carving will meet all needs. ‘We will have to continue to offer MPNs in addition to cutting in specific situations. And the demand for 5G MPN is not marginal, as global and European figures show. ‘

I think MPN is the solution to a transition phase. In the past, companies managed their own data center, while now they are investing massively in the cloud. This is how I see the development for MPN. In the long run, I believe that companies will no longer take on the role of ‘small operator’ for their private mobile network ‘, concludes Werner De Laet.

That the entire report from this virtual roundtable discussion on all aspects of 5G with Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet you can read in Data News 3/2022 magazine of June 7th: also available via MijnMagazines and the app.

It is gradually becoming clear how 5G providers are profiling themselves in the market. Data News, together with Orange Belgium, Proximus and Telenet, brought our three major mobile operators around a virtual debate table. It is expected that the three will also win the required 5G spectrum during the auction. Although Citymesh (part of the Cegeka group) and NRB are of course also candidates. During the debate with the three major operators, it is clear at first that they agree on a large part: the mobile future looks hybrid – 5G is next to 4G and 3G will not disappear for the time being – and their own ecosystems and services will ultimately make the difference. For operators, 5G is clearly also becoming a B2B story and not just a faster network for consumers. “5G is changing the way a business operates. In the industry, for example, 5G could be the key to bringing IT and OT together,” said Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise Officer at Orange Belgium. ‘5G is a driving force for innovation. “Every sector will look for and find applications for 5G,” said Anne-Sophie Lotgering, Chief Enterprise Market Officer at Proximus. “Initially, 5G is more relevant to B2B than B2C,” said Geert Degenootle, Executive VP of Telenet Business. Private network: but how? The discussion revealed differences when it comes to implementing ‘private 5G’ networks for companies. According to Proximus, companies in practice mainly see the benefits of a 5G MPN (Mobile Private Network). network on a private site – such as a company site or production hall – to provide a location with coverage. ‘An MPN provides even more benefits than the public network,’ says Anne-Sophie Lotgering. “The company has full control over its own network. “There is no interference and even less latency. The biggest advantage, however, is that all data remains in place.” “I doubt MPN makes sense, especially in Belgium,” Werner De Laet argued immediately. companies are not big enough to really benefit from economies of scale. Do not forget that you are not just installing a 5G MPN as an alternative to Wi-Fi. ‘ Werner De Laet also has reservations about the costs. ‘When a company itself maintains its private 5G network, it actually assumes the role of operator. That’s exactly what most companies do not want. ‘ Orange sees several advantages in the hybrid model, where a company uses a private part on the public 5G network. ‘I think you will soon end up with 30% cheaper,’ says Werner De Laet. Anne-Sophie Lotgering agrees that MPN may not be suitable for SMEs. ‘But Belgium is rich in sectors that are early users of new technologies, such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and the public sector. MPN has real added value as an enabler for innovation ‘, she says. Proximus has already set up MPNs at the Fabriek Logistiek logistics test center in Ghent. Proximus set up the first Belgian 5G MPN for A6K in Charleroi, a network organization for technology companies, but running a 5G MPN, according to Telenet Business, involves more than just setting up the network. ‘There are undoubtedly valid cases for 5G MPN’, says Geert Degenootle. ‘But I see this solution rather as an intermediate step, after which cutting out on the public network will ultimately prove to be the best approach.’ With slicing, an application is allocated a portion of the bandwidth – a ‘slice’ – on the public 5G network. Anne-Sophie Lotgering is not convinced that carving will meet all needs. ‘We will have to continue to offer MPNs in addition to cutting in specific situations. And the demand for 5G MPN is not marginal, as global and European figures show. ‘ I think MPN is the solution to a transition phase. In the past, companies managed their own data center, while now they are investing massively in the cloud. This is how I see the development for MPN. Over time, I think companies will no longer take on the role of ‘small operator’ for their private mobile network, ‘concludes Werner De Laet.

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