The France-based operator Orange recently said it picked Spain as its first market to move to a 5G standalone (SA) core.

The operator has already launched non-standalone (NSA) 5G across all seven of its European countries. NSA means that it uses 5G in the radio access network, but it still uses 4G technology in its core network.

For its 5G SA core vendors, Orange selected Ericsson in Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland. And it selected Nokia for France and Slovakia.

Fierce Wireless spoke with Bernard Despres, VP for Core Network, Automation and Security at Orange, last week at MWC in Barcelona.

Despres said it was smoother to select Ericsson as the 5G SA core vendor in Spain. In France, the 4G core is based on Cisco and Ericsson equipment. But for 5G, Orange will use Nokia in France. It won’t be using Cisco at all for 5G SA core in any markets.

When asked why Orange selected Spain for its first 5G SA core, Despres said, “It’s really a local market decision. It was an occasion in Spain to be the first in the market.”