Orange and NTT in three-year R&D pact for 5G and IoT

22 February 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Orange of France and NTT of Japan say they are to share R&D in 5G, network transformation and other sectors.

The two groups have signed a strategic framework agreement lasting three years “to mutualise research findings in several key domains”.

“Our collaboration with NTT will be very precious,” said Orange CEO Stéphane Richard (pictured).

NTT group CEO Jun Sawada, who was promoted to the role last April, said: “With this agreement, we will be able to enhance our capabilities and accelerate digital transformation in various industries, cities, sports and international events worldwide.”

Areas covered by the deal include 5G, network transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), cybersecurity, cloud services, smart cities, sports, tourism and culture.

The companies said: “Both organisations believe that greater alignment and cooperation on R&D topics will accelerate digital and network transformation, and lead to more innovation and the development of new products and services that can be leveraged across the Asia Pacific region covered by NTT, and Orange’s unique geographical reach across Europe and Africa.”

They gave a breakdown of the specific areas to be covered, though noted that the agreement “may be extended to other areas at a later date”.

Top of the list is 5G and network technology and transformation, including open ecosystems and the emerging open air interface (ORAN) as well as software defined networks (SDNs) and network functions virtualisation (NFV).

Under IoT Orange and NTT list “connected value chain with massive devices including connected vehicles, cellular drones, machine to machine and smart city automation”.

And they will look at use cases for AI, cybersecurity for telecoms, cloud and disaster prevention, plus the use of telecoms in “global and cultural events by using immersive communication technology” as well as digital lifestyle innovation.

Richard said: “Both parties share a commitment to continuous learning and cultural exchange, which I fundamentally believe is essential in today’s global environment. The mutualisation of our respective research learnings will enable us to identify and develop better services for customers in our respective regions, and support the development of our multinational business customers internationally.”

Sawada said: “NTT Group will aim to resolve social issues by means of advancing digital transformation through its business activities, by utilising its various management resources and capabilities, such as research and development, ICT infrastructure and personnel, while also collaborating with its partners.”