Inauguration of Europe's largest 5G factory
by Alcatel Submarine Networks

Calais - December 9, 2022

Alcatel Submarine Networks has just inaugurated the deployment of a private 5G network on its submarine systems production and assembly site based in Calais. The inauguration took place in the presence of Alain Biston, President of ASN, Patricia Fornet, Director of Industrial Operations at ASN, Thomas Reynaud, CEO of Iliad Group (Free) and Pierre-Gaël Chantereau, CEO of Nokia France.


More than 2 years of development and integration were necessary to deploy the largest private industrial 5G network in Europe to date, and to provide coverage to the 50,000 sqm of the Calais site; eventually, 11 buildings as well as the loading docks will be covered by 59 5G small cell antennas (57 indoor emission points and 2 outdoor emission points).

The deployment of this 5G network and the Industry 4.0 program is the result of collaboration between ASN and its strategic partners Nokia, Iliad, Free Pro, Sopra Steria and BSCA.

This network, supplied by Nokia, will be one of the key elements of ASN’s Industrie 4.0 project, an ambitious digitalization plan that aims to modernize ASN’s industrial processes, optimize operational performance and improve working conditions for employees. This private 5G network will also enable the implementation of industrial IOT with many use cases already identified to monitor and improve the performance of the production site in Calais.

Based on a secure, high-speed and reliable network, the use of 5G will improve industrial processes based on the automatic collection and processing of factory data and accelerate the integration of the Internet of Things (IOT) in industrial production. Predictive algorithms will facilitate the anticipation of production and the efficient management of the storage of manufactured cables, a critical issue for the factory.

This project has been financed by the French Government as part of the Recovery Plan and the Future Investment Program (Plan de Relance et Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir)


Among the use cases already developed, several were presented at the inauguration:

• Digitization of industrial processes, dematerialization of all procedures allows greater accessibility and ensures that operators have permanent access to reliable and up-to-date documentation

• The filling management of the cable storage tanks thanks to laser sensors, allowing the tanks’ availability monitoring

• Optimization of energy resource management through the implementation of an energy consumption monitoring system in the factory’s buildings

• Assistance in the maintenance of equipment in workshops by using connected glasses to provide remote maintenance support

• Analysis of production incidents that can be connected to different production equipment in order to anticipate and determine breakdowns


ASN’s commitment to transform its production processes (Industry 4.0 model) implies a secure and reliable digital infrastructure to support the critical flows linked to our industrial operations. Since 2020, we have chosen to deploy a 5G network in our factories to meet our needs for performance, high availability, mobility, security and functional scalability. Thanks to the Nokia technology deployed by our partner Free Pro (ex-Jaguar) and put into service in our factories in Greenwich and Calais, we can now benefit from very high speed, continuous coverage and mobility without loss of information for our applications related to the digitalization of workshops. In the near future, we are counting on the functional evolutions of 5G to massively extend industrial IOTs requiring reliable communications with minimal latency.


Alongside iliad and Free Pro, we are pleased to support ASN in its digital transformation to optimize its operations and improve security and communication of its teams. As the global leader in private mobile networks, we worked with our partners to plan, design, commission and deploy our application platform, Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), which provides industrial-class private wireless connectivity and edge computing capabilities.


The factory of the future is already here! There is alot of discussion about 5G for individuals, but what we are doing, along with ASN, is demonstrating the huge industrial breakthrough that it brings. Calais, with the largest 5G plant in Europe, is becoming the showcase for Industry 4.0 in France and in Europe! Free is very proud to have supported this magnificent project from beginning to end. It will be a milestone. One day we’ll be able to say that everything started in Calais!

The deployment of the 5G network is a concrete step in ASN’s Industry 4.0 strategy, which aims to combine virtual and real environments in order to interconnect the company’s departments and activities around industrial operations: purchasing and procurement, logistics, production, maintenance and supervision, etc.

This approach affirms the key role of ASN’s industrial tool in its leadership position in the subsea systems market.


Alcatel Submarine Networks, part of Nokia, leads the industry in terms of transmission capacity and installed base with more than 700,000 km of optical submarine systems deployed worldwide, enough to circumnavigate the globe 17 times. From traditional telecom applications to content and “over the top” service provider infrastructures, as well as to offshore oil and gas applications, ASN provides all elements of turnkey global undersea transmission systems, tailored to individual customer’s needs. An extensive services portfolio completes its comprehensive offering for the submarine business, including project management, installation and commissioning, along with marine and maintenance operations performed by ASN’s wholly owned fleet of cable ships.
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