SENSE: Nokia and Citymesh launch national drone network in Belgium


The drones will support emergency services across the country, supported by Citymesh’s 5G network

Today, Nokia and Citymesh have announced their latest partnership, which will see the operator use 70 Drone-in-a-Box units from Nokia to help bolster Belgium’s emergency services.

Strategically deployed to 35 emergency zones across the country and managed by five centralised operations centres, these 70 drones will be able to quickly gather information about emergency incidents taking place anywhere in the country.

The drones are equipped with video and thermal cameras, which will be used to relay information in real-time to emergency service personnel.

The deployment follows successful drone trials conducted earlier this year by Citymesh alongside the Fluvia Fire Brigade in Kortrijk, Brussels Airport Company, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, and the city of Genk.

“SENSE is a great example of how technology can save lives. We’ve been impressed with Nokia as our partner for reliable wireless connectivity and an outstanding turnkey Drone-in-a-Box solution that we can customize to our specific needs,” said Hans Similon, General Manager of Citymesh Safety Drone. “Together, we’re making Belgium safer and proving just how innovative we are as a nation.”

The drones, powered by Nokia’s Drone Networks solution, will connect to both public and private 4G and 5G networks.

Citymesh has operated as a B2B wireless connectivity provider in Belgium for almost 20 years, but in recent years its focus has changed, announcing ambitions of becoming the nation’s fourth national mobile network operator (MNO).

The would-be MNO acquired 4G spectrum from the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications in 2020. Since then, it has bolstered its holdings with significant 5G spectrum, acquired alongside Digi in 2022. Citymesh plans to use its spectrum for B2B services, while Digi will focus on offerings direct to consumers.

In fact, earlier this week, Citymesh and Digi announced a new partnership with Dense Air to deploy the vendor’s RAN-as-a-Service (RaaS) small cells and enhance their national 4G and 5G coverage.

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