Orange Belgium bags Flanders connectivity contract

Orange MWC 2023

The Flemish government has signed a five-year frame agreement with Orange Belgium that covers everything from traditional connectivity to IoT and 5G standalone services.

Under the deal, Orange will supply various administrative bodies with more than 75,000 SIM cards and 9,500 IoT and M2M SIMs. The contract is worth €23 million and comes with an option to extend it by a further two years.

In addition to network access, Orange will also provide a wide range of applications and services.

These include the Orange Phone app – which can help block unwanted calls – and Mobile Threat Protection, which gives enterprises various tools to detect and prevent cyber attacks. It will also provide its IoT device management platform, IoT Live Objects, and will supply portable infrastructure to ensure decent mobile performance during live events.

There is also a slightly more tangential app in the offing – Smart Parking for EV – which presumably helps electric car drivers locate and use available public charging points.

Then there is something Orange Belgium calls ‘Start Walking 5G’, which relates to a type of event the telco first hosted in 2020 to showcase the potential of 5G standalone (SA). It was organised after Orange rolled out 5G SA for businesses in the port of Antwerp in 2019, using it as a testbed for advanced mobile applications.

For example, tugboats were using the network to stream video to one another, helping them to navigate more effectively, and chemical conglomerate BASF tried out 5G smartphones as potential replacements for walkie-talkies, leveraging their video calling capabilities.

It is not entirely clear how Start Walking 5G relates to Orange’s new frame agreement with the Flemish government, but if indeed it is all about developing new 5G SA use cases, then there could potentially be some innovative new services in the offing.

It would certainly be in line with Flanders’ ambition to be at the forefront of Belgium’s digital development.

The local government has a division called ‘Digital Flanders’, which is in charge of developing and implementing new data-based services for businesses and citizens.

Recent highlights include the rolling out in August of an electronic signature service to some 20,000 public sector employees. In July, it became involved in the European effort to test generative AI technology – specifically in relation to smart cities – in order to ensure it is in line with European values before it is unleashed on the public.

Digital Flanders is also involved in digital twin development via the EU-led DUET project, and is also keen to roll out digital identity cards to its 6.5 million citizens.

With this context in mind, it makes sense that Orange Belgium secured its new contract by highlighting its digital innovation credentials.

“We are delighted with the continued collaboration with the Flemish government, a long-time partner since 2003, and thank the administration for their trust. Our long-standing relationship has always been driven by a constant pursuit of offering a smooth, innovative and reliable service,” said Orange Belgium CEO Xavier Pichon, in a statement.

“Our goal is to offer advanced telecom solutions not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of volumes and price so that all our customers can benefit from it,” added Frank Geets, CEO of the Facility Company, which handles procurement on behalf of the Flemish government. “Together we hope to push the boundaries of connectivity and mobility and shape a future where communication has no limits.”


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