Mobile World Congress, Barcelona — Ericsson has won the first 5G standalone (SA) deal in Spain with mobile network operator Orange 5G and — surprise! — announced the deal on the second day of Mobile World Congress.

In fact, as we hinted at yesterday, Ericsson was ready to announce the customer yesterday but had to square all the details with Orange first. The network will go live soon in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla initially, with more cities to be added over the year.

Anders Rosengren, head of strategy and portfolio, core networks for Ericsson, told Silverlinings that the vendor first defined its cloud-native 5G core five and six years ago but it has taken some time to come to commercial fruition. “What really strikes me about this year is that, finally, instead of talking about what we will do, we’re actually talking about what customers are doing,”  Rosengren said.

He expects that cloud-native 5G SA deployments will grow again in 2023, after a rocky 2021 and 2021. Ericsson says it will add Orange to its “18 live 5G SA operators list” when Orange switches on the 5G SA network in the initial cities.

“I should note too — the number for Ericsson overall for 5GSA networks is 21,” a spokesperson told us in an email. “We have some customers running SA using Ericsson for RAN not Core too.”

Confused yet? We are.

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