Polish operators and the market have been waiting for the allocation of the target band for 5G for two years. Each month of delay causes them to lag behind European competitors and lose more opportunities to benefit from digitization.
“For now, we are successfully using the available test bands. They are used by the Orange 5G Lab, which we opened in Warsaw” , says Artur Piecha, director of marketing and sales of solutions at Orange Polska. The company announces that modern 5G solutions will be developed at the Orange 5G Lab in Warsaw.
The operator wants to work on them, among others in cooperation with start-ups. They are to be ready for implementation almost immediately after UKE has fully made available the target frequencies for the construction of 5G in Poland.
5G for many functions in a company
“Enterprises that are trying to enter the 5G world today consider it not only as a technology for communicating the devices themselves, but also for communicating with the employee, e.g. for transmitting a very detailed image. We are also talking about support for quality control and analytical systems that improve typical decision-making processes on production lines or in audits”, explains Artur Piecha in an interview .
Research commissioned by Orange shows that over 80 percent. Polish companies perceive 5G as an attractive technology and useful in their business activities. Over 70 percent also estimate that the next-generation network will help them improve their offer and create new business development opportunities. From the perspective of companies – especially in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and logistics
“it is crucial, however, to reduce delays in data transmission to an almost imperceptible level and to increase the number of interconnected devices per square kilometre. It goes, among others, for factories and logistics centres to be able to install more devices and sensors that communicate with each other, allowing for quick response, problem diagnosis and process optimization.
It is very difficult to obtain in technologically specific facilities, such as production halls, where we have a lot of steel or concrete. Such solutions will also require security and stability in operation, and above all, locally quite large computing power, often referred to as “Edge Computing “, says the expert.
As the survey carried out for Orange shows, approx. 70 percent. companies are signalling that they will soon need the support of a telecommunications service provider in developing and testing solutions based on the 5G network. The Warsaw Orange 5G Lab is to be a response to these needs. State-of-the-art solutions using 5G technology will be created, tested and developed here. Similar Orange centres already operate, among others in Belgium, France and Romania.
This technology offers a very wide range of possibilities
“We want to show companies how to effectively use 5G, because this technology offers a very wide range of possibilities”, says Artur Piecha. – At Orange 5G Lab, we present various solutions. Some of them have already been implemented at our clients, so they are proven in practice. Here we have working devices and systems that you can touch, see and try.
The use of 5G technology already allows companies, for example, to train employees using virtual reality (VR), optimise production using interconnected sensors and real-time data analysis, or digital support of workplaces thanks to intelligent glasses with an augmented reality (AR) system. This is the future of modern factories, warehouses and field technicians.
“The basic examples that we show in our Orange 5G Lab concern, among others, use of robots, drones as well as virtual and augmented reality”, calculates the Orange Polska expert. – he list of possible applications of drones is very long. We are currently observing a boom, including in mapping and monitoring of critical infrastructure along with data analysis, because the data provided by drones from the air can be used in many different ways. We also have small autonomous vehicles in Laba that deliver small items. The key solution, however, is 5G communication, which eliminates many communication systems between the production hall and warehouse.
In the development part of the Orange 5G Lab in Warsaw, innovations in the field of 5G technology will be created. Thanks to this, almost immediately after the UKE has fully made available the target frequencies necessary for the construction of the 5G network throughout Poland, it will be possible to implement completely new solutions.
“This development part is very important. We invite both large companies and start-ups to cooperate with us, which will co-create solutions using 5G technology”, says Artur Piecha. – At Orange 5G Lab, we want to test not only our original ideas, but also the projects of our partners.
The Orange expert reminds that the target frequency bands for 5G have not been made available to operators all the time. This is the main factor that still blocks the full development of this technology in Poland.
“The blocks of the 3.6 GHz band were originally to be auctioned in 2019. However, we are already in 2022, and the auction has not yet started” – he points out.
In the European Union, the average indicator of the so-called 5G readiness – understood as the number of frequencies made available by the state for the 5G network – amounts to 38.8 percent. In the case of leaders – such as Germany, Greece and Finland – it already reaches almost 100 percent. In Poland it is still … 0 percent. Each month of such a delay causes Polish companies to lag behind European competitors and lose more opportunities to benefit from digitization.
The more so because for months on the global market the problem has been the limited supply of chipsets and modern devices that use them, and network equipment belongs to this category. The longer Polish business waits for the 5G band, the longer it will wait for the equipment enabling the launch of the next generation network and the more it will pay for it.
For now, operators who want to implement 5G-based implementations are left to use the available test bands. This is how 5G campus networks work, which Orange Polska – as the only operator in Poland – has already successfully launched. The first such project was carried out by Orange and Ericsson in the Łódź Special Economic Zone.
Thanks to it, companies and start-ups operating in the zone can use the new network to test innovations, e.g. in the area of IoT, VR and AR or artificial intelligence (AI). The internal 5G network Orange has also been built in the Miele household appliances factory in Ksawerów near Łódź. It serves, inter alia, for large-scale employee training with the use of virtual reality, as well as for digitization and automation of the quality control processes of manufactured products.
The third Orange campus network was established in the Nokia factory in Bydgoszcz. Thanks to it, the automation of production processes and the management of devices and autonomous vehicles were simplified. The private 5G network is also a research and development base for Nokia.