Liberty Global’s Belgium operator Telenet has selected Ericsson, Nokia, and Google Cloud as partners, as the company prepares for the rollout of its 5G network. This new generation of telecom technology will offer greater capacity, stability and innovative applications for consumers, public organisations and businesses. 5G is creating new opportunities for medical care, smart cities, logistics, the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) and further developments in augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).

Transformation with Ericsson for RAN equipment & with Nokia for core network

Telenet, also known for its BASE mobile brand, started its 5G partner selection early 2020 taking into consideration technological, operational, financial, security and sustainability criteria. Telenet is extending its partnership with Ericsson, who already operate the company’s mobile network, to include 5G RAN (Radio Access Network) technology. Ericsson will deliver the RAN equipment on antennas, with the latest high-quality and high-performance hardware and software. The company will also provide Telenet with technology solutions for future 5G developments.

Nokia will provide the core network to support the next generation of mobile technology, with associated advantages such as ultra-fast response times for critical applications and reserved capacity for specific services.

Telenet and Nokia will be using Google Cloud, more specifically Anthos for Telecom, in the Telenet data centres. Anthos allows operators to run the Nokia core equipment, and other applications that formerly had to be integrated into the network via physical hardware, via cloud-native services. As a result, operators will be able to implement innovations and respond to the needs of the market more quickly. The Anthos platform will also provide the innovation infrastructure with solutions and applications for 5G users, to drive better customer experiences and service.

Micha Berger, CTIO Telenet, said ‘We are taking our next big step, in our  technological evolution. 5G is so much more than a radio technology system – it is the engine for innovation and opportunities for new ways of working, automation and analysis.

But as with any next generation techology, it all starts with developing a high-performance network. Choosing the right suppliers and partners is crucial as we future-proof our mobile network in Belgium, so we can continue to provide our residential and business customers with the best possible user experience, be it via 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G. Our new partnerships will keep us at the heart of innovation with cutting edge technology.’

Franck Bouetard, Head of Ericsson Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Algeria and Tunisia, added, “5G plays a critical role for Belgium to meet its digital ambitions and boost economic recovery, and Ericsson is ready to deploy from our leading 5G portfolio. After years of successful collaboration with Telenet, we are pleased to strengthen our relationship with this deal, which will deliver high performing, energy efficient and secure 5G to their customers across the country.”

Jan van Tetering, Senior Vice President Europe at Nokia, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Telenet as we share a common vision for 5G as an important technological shift which is accelerating digital transformation, spurring economic growth and enabling new solutions for society. Our partnership will create next generation connectivity built around a cloud-native 5G core.

“Nokia’s industry-leading 5G core products deliver near-zero-touch automation, high-level operational efficiencies, scale and performance. We are excited to help Telenet deliver a variety of new 5G use cases that not only meet the needs of its existing customers, but provide the operator with a strong set of tools for operating its network with more automation and agility.”

Amol Phadke, Managing Director Telecom Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, said “Cloud-native 5G can deliver transformative experiences for consumers and new opportunities for businesses at the network edge. We are proud to partner with Telenet to support the delivery of cloud-native 5G to businesses and consumers with modern infrastructure, built for a cloud-native 5G core.”

Gradual transformation, tailored to customer needs

Over the next few years, Telenet will transform its current mobile network and be introducing partner equipment. This will be done gradually, in line with evolving customer needs and the availability of 5G frequencies. A report by  BIPT (Belgian Institute for Postal Services & Telecommunications) recently showed that Telenet achieved excellent results in terms of download speed and quality of telephone calls. Telenet guarantees that its mobile network will continue to meet customer needs in the coming months and years leading up to and during the transformation.

First 5G tests, for and with an ecosystem of partnering companies

5G can be a catalyst for economic development and social progress, hence, Telenet is always looking for innovation opportunities with customers and partners. Telenet is already testing 5G applications with several companies and authorities such as UZA in Antwerp, KU Leuven, and the local police of Leuven, IMEC and Brussels South Charleroi Airport.  Telenet is also testing 5G possibilities regarding ‘fixed wireless access’ (broadband internet via the mobile network, such as TADAAM) in its Virtual Reality location ‘The Park’ in Hasselt.