Huawei partnered with Paris-based wireless carriers Bouygues Telecom to bring experimental 5G to France as early as this year, the two companies announced during the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The joint venture will see the duo launch a 5G network trial in Bordeaux in an effort to test both single- and multi-site coverage using Huawei’s equipment. While the Garonne river city will be the first area in France to benefit from the next generation of wireless connectivity enabled by Huawei’s technologies, the testing is expected to expand over time, Huawei said, without providing a specific roadmap for the completion of the project.
The experimental network Huawei and Bouygues Telecom are setting up in Bordeaux will be fully compliant with the Release 15 specification, the first implementable 5G standard completed by the 3GPP late last year. As such, the results of the trial should be directly applicable to the eventual fully commercialized solutions. The partners suggested the trial deployment will start this spring, adding that the network will deliver extremely high speeds and capacity, as well as low latencies that are expected from 5G technologies. The Chinese original equipment manufacturer has been collaborating with Bouygues Telecom for over half a decade now, having already launched a 4G service in France in partnership with the company in 2014 after pledging to do so two years earlier. The move signals Washington’s recent attempts to talk its allies out of allowing Huawei to support their 5G deployment efforts are still widely unsuccessful. After a number of wireless carriers around the world came to Huawei’s defense and dismissed any existing security concerns about the company’s equipment, Bouygues Telecom Networks VP Jean-Paul Arzel said the French operator is “proud” to continue its long-term collaboration with the Shenzhen-based firm.
Large-scale 5G deployment is expected to start in the United States, Australia, Japan, and South Korea next year. Stateside national carriers are presently predicting countrywide 5G coverage by 2020, the year when their European peers are expected to start commercializing such networks beyond limited experiments like the one Huawei and Bouygues Telecom will be running this year.