U.S. satellite communications service provider Ligado Networks plans to offer a private LTE network using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) from Taiwan based Ubiik. Using Band 54 spectrum at 1670-1675 MHz, the private LTE network is intended for the utilities sector and other mission-critical customers. Band 54 is standardized for 3GPP-based cellular technologies; it is available contiguously across the US.
Ubiik gained considerable success in Taiwan, including a $17 million tender from Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) at the start of 2023. The company has developed a private LTE base station for Band 54 spectrum, under the brand goRAN; the 5MHz chunk at 1670-1675 MHz, affording time-division (rather than frequency division) duplexing (TDD), is presented as a useful private network addition for low-power IoT projects.
On October 6th, Ubiik partnered with Electricity Canada with the aim of contributing to Canada’s clean energy future through developments in wireless connectivity. Ubiik will collaborate with Electricity Canada’s members and partners to deliver pLTE networks for utilities in Canada, using its innovative goRAN™ LTE Base Station and LTE-M end devices that support the 1.8GHz, 900MHz, and 1.4GHz spectrum.
The goRAN™ base station integrates a full-software 3GPP Release 15 Radio Access Network (RAN) optimized for private networks, with multi-carrier standalone NB-IoT support as well as standalone LTE-M in 1.4MHz, 3MHz and 5MHz bandwidths, including VoLTE. It can operate as a Base Station connecting to an external Evolved Packet Core (EPC) via the S1 interface, as well as an Access Point with its built-in EPC and integrated HSS (external HSS via S6a is also supported).
It is a “golden opportunity” for critical industries, said Ubiik. TDD separates the uplink and downlink signals by allocating different time slots in the same frequency band, allowing for asymmetric flow for uplink and downlink transmission. Ligado Networks said: “[It] equips utility users with significant flexibility, as different ratios of uplink versus downlink slots may be used to address requirements of mission-critical applications.”
A news release said: “The Band 54 goRAN™ LTE Base Station will be particularly useful for utilities deploying private networks which is why the companies plan to showcase a demonstration version of the device during the 2023 Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA) Summit & Plugfest Event in Minneapolis next week from October 10-12, 2023.”
Sachin Chhibber, chief technology officer at Ligado Networks emphasized how the announcement represents another building block in the expansion of the ecosystem which utilizes Band 54 frequencies. He stated: “Ubiik’s goRAN base station is a significant enhancement to the opportunities the band affords to the critical infrastructure industry – especially utility and other enterprise organisations planning private networks… By eliminating the requirement to pair channels for uplink and downlink, we will be able to offer partners the flexibility to use the spectrum exactly how they need, and with greater efficiencies.”
Chhibber reiterated how specific attributes of Band 54 – particularly its Time Division Duplex (TDD) capabilities – equip utility users with significant flexibility, as different ratios of uplink versus downlink slots may be used to address requirements of mission-critical applications. “By eliminating the requirement to pair channels for uplink and downlink, we will be able to offer our partners the flexibility necessary to use the spectrum exactly how they need, and with greater efficiencies,” Chhibber noted. He added that uplink-heavy users such as utilities – for monitoring purposes, as an example – will be able to deploy tailormade networks to achieve their priorities.
Tienhaw Peng, chief executive at Ubiik, said: “Given the scarcity of spectrum, being able to secure an optimal 5 MHz slice to build out a private network is a golden opportunity for critical infrastructure customers. Our goRAN base station offers the perfect mix of affordability and ease of deployment combined with the spectral efficiency, interoperability and security brought by LTE. With Ligado, we look forward to providing a solution-in-a-box for building an LTE network – by either utilising a user’s specified core network or one directly built into the base station.”
Peng also explained that the goRAN™ Base Station will integrate with chipsets supporting Band 54 and with a utility-hardened LTE endpoint module currently in development. Ubiik’s recent acquisition of utility networks provider Mimomax Wireless will provide North American utilities with additional expertise in the deployment of multiple large-scale wireless networks.
Ubiik’s recent acquisition of utility networks provider Mimomax Wireless will provide North American utilities with additional expertise in the deployment of multiple large-scale wireless networks, the company said.
Federated Wireless, a shared spectrum and private wireless network operator, today announced it will deliver private 4G and 5G networks-as-a-service for enterprises in the form of the new VMware Private Mobile Network Service. Federated Wireless will build and operate private 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) infrastructure to be deployed on customers’ premises. VMware will provide its Private Mobile Network Orchestrator to manage the end-to-end network and integrate it with existing IT environments.
The streamlined solution provides the performance, coverage, and security benefits of private cellular networks without the complexity of building and operating standalone infrastructure.
Key features and benefits of the joint solution include:
- Streamlined deployment of private 4G/5G RAN at enterprise locations
- Simplified private mobile core integrated with existing IT management platforms
- Centralized orchestration and automation of the end-to-end networks
- Enhanced security and more optimized connectivity for business- and mission-critical applications
- Carrier-grade performance with SLAs tailored to enterprise requirements
- Ability to leverage CBRS shared spectrum as well as privately licensed spectrum
“Enterprises are looking to private cellular networks to enable business transformation, but need solutions that integrate with their existing infrastructure,” said Kevin McCartney, Vice President of Alliances at Federated Wireless. “Through the strength of our combined solutioning with VMware, we’re giving customers in difficult-to-cover environments an easy on-ramp to private 4G and 5G with the performance and scale they require.”
“VMware is committed to helping customers modernize their networks through innovative software solutions,” said Saadat Malik, Vice President and General Manager, Edge Computing at VMware. “With Federated Wireless and a growing partner ecosystem, we’re making it simpler for enterprises to deploy and run private networks in a model that aligns with their business needs.”
The solution will be delivered by Federated Wireless as part of its private wireless managed service and will be available to both direct customers and channel partners.
VMware today is also introducing new and enhanced orchestration capabilities for the edge. VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (formerly VMware SASE Orchestrator) will provide unified management for VMware SASE and the VMware Edge Compute Stack—an industry-first offering to bridge the gap between edge networking and edge compute. Enhancements to the orchestrator will help customers plan, deploy, run, visualize, and manage their edge environments in a friction-free manner—allowing them to run edge-native applications focused on business outcomes. The VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (VECO) will deliver holistic edge management by providing a single console to manage edge compute infrastructure, networking, and security.
VMware defines the software-defined edge as a distributed digital Infrastructure that runs workloads across a number of locations, close to endpoints that are producing and consuming data. It extends to where the users and devices are—whether they are in the office, on the road or on the factory floor. Enterprises need solutions to connect these elements more securely and reliably to the larger enterprise network in a scalable manner. VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator is key to enabling a software-defined edge approach. VMware’s approach to the software-defined edge features right-sized infrastructure (shrinking the stack to the smallest possible footprint); pull-based orchestration (security and administrative updates are “pulled” by the workload); and network programmability (defined by APIs and code).
“Audi wants to take factory automation to the next level and benefit from a scalable edge infrastructure at its factories worldwide,” said Jörg Spindler, Global Head of Manufacturing Engineering, Audi. “Audi’s Edge Cloud 4 Production will be the key component of this digital transformation, replacing individual PCs and hardware on the shop floor. Ultimately, it will increase factory uptime, agility, and the speed of rolling out new applications and tools across the production line. VMware Edge Compute Stack (ECS) and the VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (VECO) will offer a scalable way for Audi to operate a distributed edge infrastructure, manage resources more efficiently, and lower its operations costs.”
VMware also announced that the VMware Private Mobile Network, a managed connectivity service to accelerate edge digital transformation, will become initially available in the current quarter (FY24 Q3). VMware partners with wireless service providers to help remove the complexity associated with private mobile networks and enable enterprises to focus on their strategic business outcomes. Built on VMware Edge Compute Stack, VMware Private Mobile Network offers service providers trusted VMware technology, seamlessly integrated into existing IT management platforms. This enables rapid deployment and effortless management and orchestration. VMware is also pleased to announce that it is working with Betacom, Boingo Wireless, and Federated Wireless as the initial beta wireless service provider partners for this new offering.
Supporting Diverse Use Cases at the Edge:
VMware offers enterprises the right edge solution to address diverse use cases at the right price. It is collaborating with customers to successfully address the following edge use cases:
- Manufacturing – Support for autonomous vehicles, digital twin, inventory management, safety, and security;
- Retail – Support for loss prevention, inventory management, safety, security, and computer vision;
- Energy – Enable increased production visibility and efficiency, reduced unplanned downtime, maintain regulatory compliance; and,
- Healthcare – Support for IoT wearables, smart utilities, and surgical robotics.
“Boingo is collaborating with VMware to enhance our managed private 5G networks that connect mobile and IoT devices at airports, stadiums and large venues. VMware’s Private Mobile Network simplifies network integration and management, helping us accelerate deployments.” – Dr. Derek Peterson, chief technology officer, Boingo
SNS Telecom & IT‘s latest research report indicates that global spending on private LTE and 5G network infrastructure for vertical industries – which includes RAN (Radio Access Network), mobile core and transport network equipment – will account for more than $6.4 Billion by the end of 2026.
Private cellular networks – also referred to as NPNs (Non-Public Networks) in 3GPP terminology – have rapidly gained popularity in recent years due to privacy, security, reliability and performance advantages over public mobile networks and competing wireless technologies as well as their potential to replace hardwired connections with non-obstructive wireless links.
With the 3GPP-led standardization [1.] of features such as MCX (Mission-Critical PTT, Video & Data), URLLC (Ultra-Reliable, Low-Latency Communications), TSC (Time-Sensitive Communications), SNPNs (Standalone NPNs), PNI-NPNs (Public Network-Integrated NPNs) and network slicing, private networks based on LTE and 5G technologies have gained recognition as an all-inclusive connectivity platform for critical communications, Industry 4.0 and enterprise transformation-related applications. Traditionally, these sectors have been dominated by LMR (Land Mobile Radio), Wi-Fi, industrial Ethernet, fiber and other disparate networks.
Note 1. 3GPP specs become standards when they are “rubber stamped” by ETSI. Some are also contributed to ITU-R WP5D by ATIS, e.g. 3GPP NR became the essence of ITU-R M.2150 recommendation for 5G RANs.
The liberalization of spectrum is another factor that is accelerating the adoption of private LTE and 5G networks. National regulators across the globe have released or are in the process of granting access to shared and local area licensed spectrum.
Examples include, but are not limited to, the three-tiered CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) spectrum sharing scheme in the United States, Canada’s planned NCL (Non-Competitive Local) licensing framework, United Kingdom’s shared and local access licensing model, Germany’s 3.7-3.8 GHz and 28 GHz licenses for 5G campus networks, France’s vertical spectrum and sub-letting arrangements, Netherlands’ geographically restricted mid-band spectrum assignments, Finland’s 2.3 GHz and 26 GHz licenses for local 4G/5G networks, Sweden’s 3.7 GHz and 26 GHz permits, Norway’s regulation of local networks in the 3.8-4.2 GHz band, Poland’s spectrum assignment for local government units and enterprises, Bahrain’s private 5G network licenses, Japan’s 4.6-4.9 GHz and 28 GHz local 5G network licenses, South Korea’s e-Um 5G allocations in the 4.7 GHz and 28 GHz bands, Taiwan’s provision of 4.8-4.9 GHz spectrum for private 5G networks, Hong Kong’s LWBS (Localized Wireless Broadband System) licenses, Australia’s apparatus licensing approach, India’s CNPN (Captive Non-Public Network) leasing framework and Brazil’s SLP (Private Limited Service) licenses. Even China – where mobile operators have been at the forefront of initial private 5G installations – has started allocating private 5G spectrum licenses directly to end user organizations.
Vast swaths of globally and regionally harmonized license-exempt spectrum are also available worldwide that can be used for the operation of unlicensed LTE and 5G NR-U equipment for private networks. In addition, dedicated national spectrum in sub-1 GHz and higher frequencies has been allocated for specific critical communications-related applications in many countries.
LTE and 5G-based private cellular networks come in many different shapes and sizes, including isolated end-to-end NPNs in industrial and enterprise settings, local RAN equipment for targeted cellular coverage, dedicated on-premise core network functions, virtual sliced private networks, secure MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) platforms for critical communications, and wide area networks for application scenarios such as PPDR (Public Protection & Disaster Relief) broadband, smart utility grids, railway communications and A2G (Air-to-Ground) connectivity.
However, it is important to note that equipment suppliers, system integrators, private network specialists, mobile operators and other ecosystem players have slightly different perceptions as to what exactly constitutes a private cellular network. While there is near universal consensus that private LTE and 5G networks refer to purpose-built cellular communications systems intended for the exclusive use of vertical industries and enterprises, some industry participants extend this definition to also include other market segments – for example, 3GPP-based community and residential broadband networks deployed by non-traditional service providers. Another closely related segment is multi-operator or shared neutral host infrastructure, which may be employed to support NPN services in specific scenarios.
SNS Telecom & IT estimates that global spending on private LTE and 5G network infrastructure for vertical industries will grow at a CAGR of approximately 18% between 2023 and 2026, eventually accounting for more than $6.4 Billion by the end of 2026.
As much as 40% of these investments – nearly $2.8 Billion – will be directed towards the build-out of standalone private 5G networks that will become the predominant wireless communications medium to support the ongoing Industry 4.0 revolution for the digitization and automation of manufacturing and process industries.
This unprecedented level of growth in the coming years is likely to transform private LTE and 5G networks into an almost parallel equipment ecosystem to public mobile operator infrastructure in terms of market size by the late 2020s.
Existing private cellular network deployments range from localized wireless systems in industrial and enterprise settings to sub-1 GHz private wireless broadband networks for utilities, FRMCS-ready networks for train-to-ground communications, and hybrid government-commercial public safety broadband networks, as well as rapidly deployable LTE/5G systems that deliver temporary or on-demand cellular connectivity.
As for the practical and quantifiable benefits of private LTE and 5G networks, end user organizations across manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, ports and other vertical industries have credited private cellular network installations with productivity and efficiency gains in the range of 30 to 70%, cost savings of more than 20%, and an uplift of up to 80% in worker safety and accident reduction.
Spectrum liberalization initiatives – particularly shared and local spectrum licensing frameworks – are playing a pivotal role in accelerating the adoption of private LTE and 5G networks. Telecommunications regulators in multiple national markets – including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Bahrain, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, India and Brazil – have released or are in the process of granting access to shared and local area licensed spectrum.
By capitalizing on their extensive licensed spectrum holdings, infrastructure assets and cellular networking expertise, national mobile operators have continued to retain a strong foothold in the private LTE and 5G network market. With an expanded focus on vertical B2B (Business-to-Business) opportunities in the 5G era, mobile operators are actively involved in diverse projects extending from localized 5G networks for secure and reliable wireless connectivity in industrial and enterprise environments to nationwide public safety broadband networks.
New classes of private network operators have also found success in the market. Notable examples include but are not limited to Celona, Betacom, Kajeet, BearCom, Ambra Solutions, iNET (Infrastructure Networks), Tampnet, Smart Mobile Labs, MUGLER, Telent, Logicalis, Citymesh, Netmore, RADTONICS, Combitech, Grape One (Japan), NS Solutions, OPTAGE, Wave-In Communication and the private 4G/5G business units of neutral host infrastructure providers such as Boingo Wireless, Crown Castle, Cellnex Telecom, BAI Communications/Boldyn Networks, Freshwave and Digita.
NTT, Kyndryl and other global system integrators have been quick to seize the private cellular opportunity with strategic technology alliances and early commercial wins. Meanwhile, hyperscalers – most notably AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google and Microsoft – are offering managed private 5G services by leveraging their cloud and edge platforms.
Although greater vendor diversity is beginning to be reflected in infrastructure sales, larger players are continuing to invest in strategic acquisitions as highlighted by HPE’s (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) recent acquisition of Italian mobile core technology provider Athonet.
The service provider segment is not immune to consolidation either. For example, in Australia, mobile operator Telstra – through its Telstra Purple division – has acquired industrial private wireless specialist Aqura Technologies. More recently, specialist fiber and network solutions provider Vocus has acquired Challenge Networks – another Australian pioneer in private LTE and 5G networks.
Summary of Private LTE/5G Engagements:
Some of the existing and planned private LTE and 5G engagements are in the following industry verticals:
Agriculture: Private cellular network installations in the agriculture industry range from custom-built 250 MHz LTE networks that provide wide area cellular coverage for agribusiness machinery, vehicles, sensors and field workers in Brazil to Japan’s standalone local 5G networks supporting 4K UHD (Ultra-High Definition) video transmission, mobile robotics, remote-controlled tractors and other advanced smart agriculture-related application capabilities.
Aviation: Private LTE and 5G networks have been deployed or are being trialed to support internal operations at some of the busiest international and domestic airports, including Hong Kong, Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao, Tokyo Narita, London Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget, Frankfurt, Cologne Bonn, Brussels, Amsterdam Schiphol, Vienna, Athens, Oslo, Helsinki, Bahrain, Chicago O’Hare, DFW (Dallas Fort Worth), Dallas Love Field and MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul). Lufthansa Technik and JAL (Japan Airlines), among others, are leveraging private 5G connectivity for aircraft maintenance operations. In addition, national and cross-border A2G (Air-to-Ground) networks for inflight broadband and critical airborne communications are also beginning to gain significant traction.
Broadcasting: Within the broadcasting industry, FOX Sports, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), BT Group, RTÈ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann), Media Broadcast, WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln), RTVE (Radiotelevisión Española), SVT (Sveriges Television), NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), TV 2, TVBS, CMG (China Media Group) and several other media and broadcast players are utilizing private 5G networks – both temporary and fixed installations – to support live production and other use cases.
Construction: Mortenson, Ferrovial, BAM Nuttall (Royal BAM Group), Fira (Finland), Kumagai Gumi, Obayashi Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, Taisei Corporation, Takenaka Corporation, CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation), Hoban Construction, Hip Hing Engineering, Gammon Construction and Hyundai E&C (Engineering & Construction) are notable examples of companies that have employed the use of private LTE and 5G networks to enhance productivity and worker safety at construction sites.
Education: Higher education institutes are at the forefront of hosting on-premise 5G networks in campus environments. Tokyo Metropolitan University, McMaster University, Texas A&M University, Purdue University, Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University), Northeastern University, UWM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), RWTH Aachen University, TU Kaiserslautern (Technical University of Kaiserslautern) and CTU (Czech Technical University in Prague) are among the many universities that have deployed private 5G networks for experimental research or smart campus-related applications. Another prevalent theme in the education sector is the growing number of purpose-built LTE networks aimed at eliminating the digital divide for remote learning – particularly CBRS networks for school districts in the United States.
Forestry: There is considerable interest in private cellular networks to fulfill the communications needs of the forestry industry for both industrial and environmental purposes. For example, Swedish forestry company SCA (Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget) is deploying local 5G networks to facilitate digitization and automation at its timber terminals and paper mills, while Tolko Industries and Resolute Forest Products are utilizing portable LTE systems to support their remote forestry operations in remote locations in Quebec and British Columbia, Canada, where cellular coverage has previously been scarce or non-existent.
Healthcare: Dedicated 5G campus networks have been installed or are being implemented to support smart healthcare applications in many hospitals, including Nagasaki University Hospital, West China Second University Hospital (Sichuan University), SMC (Samsung Medical Center), Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Frankfurt University Hospital, Helios Park Hospital Leipzig, UKD (University Hospital of Düsseldorf), UKSH (University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein), UKB (University Hospital Bonn), Cleveland Clinic’s Mentor Hospital and Hospital das Clínicas (São Paulo). In addition, on-premise LTE networks are also operational at many hospitals and medical complexes across the globe.
Manufacturing: AGC, Airbus, Arçelik, ASN (Alcatel Submarine Networks), Atlas Copco, BASF, BMW, BorgWarner, British Sugar, Calpak, China Baowu Steel Group, COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China), Del Conca, Delta Electronics, Dow, Ford, Foxconn, GM (General Motors), Gerdau, Glanbia, Haier, Holmen Iggesund, Inventec, John Deere, Logan Aluminum, Magna Steyr, Mercedes-Benz, Midea, Miele, Navantia, Renault, Ricoh, Saab, SANY Heavy Industry, Schneider Electric, SIBUR, Whirlpool, X Shore and Yara International and dozens of additional manufacturers – including LTE/5G equipment suppliers themselves – have already integrated private cellular connectivity into their production operations at their factories. Many others – including ArcelorMittal, Bayer, Bosch, Hyundai, KAI (Korea Aerospace Industries), Nestlé, Nissan, SEAT, Siemens, Stellantis, Toyota, Volkswagen and WEG – are treading cautiously in their planned transition from initial pilot installations to live 5G networks for Industry 4.0 applications.
Military: Led by the U.S. DOD’s (Department of Defense) “5G-to-Next G” initiative, several programs are underway to accelerate the adoption of private 5G networks at military bases and training facilities, defense-specific network slices and portable cellular systems for tactical communications. The U.S. military, Canadian Army, Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces), Italian Army, Norwegian Armed Forces, Finnish Defense Forces, Latvian Ministry of Defense, Qatar Armed Forces, ADF (Australian Defence Force), ROK (Republic of Korea) Armed Forces and Brazilian Army are among the many adopters of private cellular networks in the military sector.
Mining: Mining companies are increasingly deploying 3GPP-based private wireless networks at their surface and underground mining operations to support mine-wide communications between workers, real-time video monitoring, teleoperation of mining equipment, fleet management, self-driving trucks and other applications. Some noteworthy examples include Agnico Eagle, Albemarle, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Antofagasta Minerals, BHP, Boliden, Codelco, China Shenhua Energy, China National Coal, Eldorado Gold, Exxaro, Fortescue Metals, Freeport-McMoRan, Glencore, Gold Fields, Jiangxi Copper, Metalloinvest, Newcrest Mining, Newmont, Northern Star Resources, Nornickel (Norilsk Nickel), Nutrien, Polyus, Polymetal International, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, Severstal, Shaanxi Coal, South32, Southern Copper (Grupo México), Teck Resources, Vale, Yankuang Energy and Zijin Mining.
Oil & Gas: Arrow Energy, BP, Centrica, Chevron, CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation), ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Gazprom Neft, Neste, PCK Raffinerie, Petrobras, PetroChina/CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), Phillips 66, PKN ORLEN, Repsol, Santos, Schlumberger, Shell, Sinopec (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation), TotalEnergies and many others in the oil and gas industry are utilizing private cellular networks. Some companies are pursuing a multi-faceted approach to address their diverse connectivity requirements. For instance, Aramco (Saudi Arabian Oil Company) is adopting a 450 MHz LTE network for critical communications, LEO satellite-based NB-IoT coverage to enable connectivity for remote IoT assets, and private 5G networks for advanced Industry 4.0-related applications.
Ports & Maritime Transport: Many port and terminal operators are investing in private LTE and 5G networks to provide high-speed and low-latency wireless connectivity for applications such as AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), remote-controlled cranes, smart cargo handling and predictive maintenance. Prominent examples include but are not limited to APM Terminals (Maersk), CMPort (China Merchants Port Holdings), COSCO Shipping Ports, Hutchison Ports, PSA International, SSA Marine (Carrix) and Steveco. In the maritime transport segment, onboard private cellular networks – supported by satellite backhaul links – are widely being utilized to provide voice, data, messaging and IoT connectivity services for both passenger and cargo vessels while at sea.
Public Safety: A myriad of fully dedicated, hybrid government-commercial and secure MVNO/MOCN (Multi-Operator Core Network)-based public safety LTE networks are operational or in the process of being rolled out throughout the globe, ranging from national mission-critical broadband platforms such as FirstNet, South Korea’s Safe-Net, France’s RRF (Radio Network of the Future), Spain’s SIRDEE and Finland’s VIRVE 2.0 to the Royal Thai Police’s 800 MHz LTE network and Halton-Peel region PSBN (Public Safety Broadband Network) in Canada’s Ontario province. 5G NR-equipped PPDR (Public Protection & Disaster Relief) broadband systems are also starting to be adopted by first responder agencies. For example, Taiwan’s Hsinchu City Fire Department is using an emergency response vehicle – which features a satellite-backhauled private 5G network based on Open RAN standards – to establish high-bandwidth, low-latency emergency communications in disaster zones.
Railways: Although the GSM-R to FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) transition is not expected until the late 2020s, a number of LTE and 5G-based networks for railway communications are being deployed, including Adif AV’s private 5G network for logistics terminals, SGP’s (Société du Grand Paris) private LTE network for the Grand Paris Express metro system, PTA’s (Public Transport Authority of Western Australia) radio systems replacement project, NCRTC’s (National Capital Regional Transport Corporation) private LTE network for the Delhi-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) corridor, KRNA’s (Korea Rail Network Authority) LTE-R network and China State Railway Group’s 5G-R program. DB (Deutsche Bahn), SNCF (French National Railways), Network Rail and others are also progressing their 5G-based rail connectivity projects prior to operational deployment.
Utilities: Private cellular networks in the utilities industry range from wide area 3GPP networks – operating in 410 MHz, 450 MHz, 900 MHz and other sub-1 GHz spectrum bands – for smart grid communications to purpose-built LTE and 5G networks aimed at providing localized wireless connectivity in critical infrastructure facilities such as power plants, substations and offshore wind farms. Some examples of end user adopters include Ameren, CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation), CPFL Energia, CSG (China Southern Power Grid), E.ON, Edesur Dominicana, EDF, Enel, ESB Networks, Bahrain EWA (Electricity and Water Authority), Evergy, Fortum, Hokkaido Electric Power, Iberdrola, Kansai Electric Power, KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Corporation), LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority), Osaka Gas, PGE (Polish Energy Group), SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric), SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China), Southern Company, Tampa Electric (Emera) and Xcel Energy.
Other Sectors: Private LTE and 5G networks have also been deployed in other vertical sectors, extending from sports, arts and culture to retail, hospitality and public services. From a horizontal perspective, enterprise RAN systems for indoor coverage enhancement are relatively common and end-to-end private networks are also starting to be implemented in office buildings and campuses. BlackRock, Imagin’Office (Icade), Mitsui Fudosan, NAVER, Rudin Management Company and WISTA Management are among the companies that have deployed on-premise private 5G networks in office environments.
Wipro has announced a managed private 5G-as-a-Service solution in partnership with Cisco. The new offering enables enterprise customers to achieve better business outcomes through the seamless integration of private 5G with their existing LAN/WAN/Cloud infrastructure.
Managed private 5G from Cisco and Wipro supports organizations looking to enjoy the advantages of a private 5G network without having to acquire, run, and maintain one. The as-a-service solution benefits enterprise customers by minimizing the risks associated with upfront capital expenditure (Capex) investments and expedites technology adoption as Wipro and Cisco take on the technical, operational, and commercial risks of implementing the solution.
“Private 5G is already enabling connectivity for a wide range of use cases in factories, supply chains, university and enterprise campuses, entertainment venues, hospitals, and more,” said Masum Mir, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Provider Mobility, Cisco Networking. “We’ve created a simplified and intuitive private 5G solution with Wipro, leveraging the advantages of 5G, IoT, Edge and Wi-Fi6 technologies to improve customer outcomes.”
The managed private 5G solution is built on Cisco’s 4G/5G mobile core technology and Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio – spanning IoT sensors and gateways, device management software, as well as monitoring tools and dashboards. The solution is seamlessly built, run, and managed by Wipro for customers. To support the partnership, Wipro has created a dedicated private 5G lab to build, test, and demonstrate industry use-cases.
“Wipro and Cisco have a long history of building secure networks for enterprises and industries,” said Jo Debecker, Global Head of Wipro FullStride Cloud. “We are both dedicated to the partnership and delivering a secure, cloud-managed private 5G service to our customers. Because it is an as-a-service solution, it provides maximum benefits while minimizing the human resources and costs associated with owning a private network.”
Lourdes Charles, Vice President, 5G / Connectivity Services, Wipro Limited said, “Private 5G integration will put organizations on the cusp of a new revolution. We are delighted to expand our long-standing strategic relationship between Cisco and Wipro to include managed private 5G solutions for enterprise customers. To simplify the customer experience, the solution will validate mission-critical use cases, operations Service-Level Agreements, and lifecycle management. Wipro is fully committed through our 5G Def-i platform, to assist customers with their private 5G networks through best-in-class technology, pricing, and performance.”
“Wipro believes Cisco is very well positioned with extensive products and services to provide the complete stack for enterprise-converged network and security solutions,” the firm noted in an email to SDxCentral. “Cisco also brings integration with enterprise infrastructure and applications.”
IoT Analytics recently ranked Cisco as one of the market’s top software providers, touting its Cisco Edge Intelligence and IoT security offerings. The analyst firm also noted that spending on IoT software hit $53 billion in 2022, with the installed base of connected IoT devices surging to 14.4 billion units. The firm expects that device number to surge to 30 billion units by 2027.
Wipro says that 5G cellular network for enterprise running on both licenses and shared spectrum lays the foundation for:
ABI Research this week reported that more than 1,000 enterprise private networks have been deployed worldwide, despite a slowdown in public proclamations.
“This is actually a good sign for the private networks market,” Leo Gergs, senior analyst for 5G Markets at ABI Research, wrote. “Enterprises are beginning to see the deployment of private cellular connectivity as a competitive advantage and, therefore, do not want to talk about it too openly. Which is important as the market moves from the experimental phase toward commercializing private network deployments.”
Gergs added that this growth has now placed more pressure on the telecommunications industry to ensure those networks can handle increasingly complex and revenue-generating use cases. “The telco industry urgently needs to deliver on promises made to the enterprise community now. Otherwise, enterprise 5G will enter the history books as the technology that always overpromised and under-delivered.”
United Kingdom-based managed service provider Logicalis recently deployed Cisco’s private network with Logicalis overseeing the on-site engineering, including site preparation, ordering of solution components, organization of the spectrum, SIM management, staging, creation of customer profiles and core and RAN installation.
Chris Calvert, VP of private wireless services for Logicalis US, explained that Cisco is providing its Private 5G platform, which includes the 4G/5G core network that Logicalis’s 4G LTE and 5G service requires. That core is available as a single standalone (SA) core or a high-availability three-server cluster.
“Cisco really wanted this to be a managed services-only solution,” Calvert said. “Basically, Logicalis is Cisco’s customer. The combination of the industry expertise and the fact that we have a large managed-services practice were really the driving forces behind Cisco selecting Logicalis as one of only two manufacturers that can actually provide this solution currently.”
About Wipro Limited:
Wipro Limited is a leading technology services and consulting company focused on building innovative solutions that address clients’ most complex digital transformation needs. Leveraging our holistic portfolio of capabilities in consulting, design, engineering, and operations, we help clients realize their boldest ambitions and build future-ready, sustainable businesses. With over 250,000 employees and business partners across 66 countries, we deliver on the promise of helping our customers, colleagues, and communities thrive in an ever-changing world. For additional information, visit us at www.wipro.com.
Cisco offers an industry-leading portfolio of technology innovations. With networking, security, collaboration, cloud management, and more, we help to securely connect industries and communities. Information about Cisco’s products is here.
Cisco’s Private 5G story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdsyhsXicNk
Indian network operator Reliance Jio is said to be in negotiations with Tesla for the deployment of a private 5G network for the latter’s manufacturing plant in India, according to India press reports. The reports noted that the electric vehicle manufacturer is seeking to get the permit to set up its first manufacturing location in India. As part of these discussions, Reliance Jio Infocomm has allegedly offered Tesla to set up a 5G private network for its future manufacturing facility in the Asian nation. The network is expected to support connected car solutions and automated production processes.
A report by Financial Express suggests that the Mukesh Ambani-headed telco is in early talks with Tesla for the setup of the private network, and further progress will only happen if Tesla finalizes its plans to set up a manufacturing plant in the country. “The talks between Jio and Tesla are at a preliminary stage, and any further developments are expected only when the latter firms up its plans for setting up a manufacturing unit in India,” an unnamed industry source revealed to the publication.
The report suggests that Jio is also reaching out to firms across automobile, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries with possible use cases of 5G, offering to build and manage their private networks. The captive private 5G network setup from the telco will help these firms achieve high data speed and data carrying capacity within their premises, which is not possible if they depend on public networks. Notably, the private 5G solutions will also help industries benefit from the next technological advancement – Industry 4.0 – a new technology wave that is said to revolutionize the way companies manufacture, improve, and distribute their products.
In December 2022, rival operator Bharti Airtel announced a partnership with Indian company Tech Mahindra to set up a private 5G network at Mahindra’s Chakan facility. With this collaboration, the Chakan facility became the first 5G-enabled manufacturing unit in India.
Reliance Jio Infocomm has already deployed its 5G service in 4,786 towns and cities across 36 states in India, according to the carrier’s website. Jio has already deployed over 50,000 base stations and 300,000 cells to support its 5G service, according to recent press reports.
Shyam Mardikar, Jio’s CTO recently said that the company expected to complete full urban coverage before the end of May. Jio started to deploy its 5G Standalone (SA) network in October 2022 and has recently stated that it is on track to cover all towns and cities by December 2023. The telco had initially launched the beta trial of its 5G services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi.
Jio is offering the 5G connectivity on an invitational basis, with users living in 5G-enabled cities who have 5G compatible smartphones receiving invitations.
Last year, Reliance Jio Infocomm announced 5G contracts with network equipment vendors Ericsson and Nokia. The deal with Ericsson marks the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) entered into a partnership with AT&T, to provide the airport with a comprehensive wireless platform (CWP) that will enhance connectivity and critical infrastructure. As part of the proposed agreement, AT&T will invest $10 million worth of network upgrades in modernizing and expanding the network covering the DFW airport, to support airport operations and advance the free public Wi-Fi in the Airport’s terminals. This includes installing 200 new access points — and updating the 800 access points DFW already provides — to enable better coverage and faster speeds for customers. AT&T will also deploy a private 5G network for the Airport’s internal use to meet the rising demand for Internet of Things (IoT) uses cases and the digitization of airport operations.
“We know that being connected to the internet is an absolute must-have service for our customers. This proposed agreement signifies our commitment to ensure our customers will always remain connected at DFW Airport, so they can reliably stay online for work or entertainment while traveling,” said Mike Youngs, Vice President of Information Technology Services at DFW Airport.
The CWP will provide enhanced connectivity throughout the airport, including indoor and outdoor spaces, parking lots and runways. This faster connectivity means that travelers will have even faster access to airport services through the DFW Airport or airline app such as automated check-in, baggage tracking and lounge access.
The private cellular 5G network will offer more reliability and security, lower latency and greater capacity, providing operations teams with optimal connectivity that can be used for future use cases such as real-time data analytics and enhanced communication with critical airport systems. With these use cases, the airport’s management team will be better able to monitor and manage passenger traffic, security systems and baggage handling – improving efficiency and safety.
Image Credit: AT&T
“Modernizing airport technology needs to focus on both improving the efficiency and convenience for airlines and airport operations and the overall travel experience for passengers, while ensuring the safety and security of all those who pass through its gates,” said Jason Inskeep, Assistant Vice President, 5G Center of Excellence at AT&T. “We’re proud to work alongside DFW Airport and look forward to continuing our collaboration to bring the best connectivity solutions for all.”
DFW and AT&T will begin upgrading the network this summer, with the enhancements coming online by the fall. The project is contingent upon a final contract between AT&T and the DFW. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is one of the most connected airports in the world and serves as a major job generator for the North Texas region by connecting people through business and leisure travel. With 168 gates in five terminals and an area spanning 18,000 acres, DFW Airport is the third-largest airport in the world by size.
In February 2021, AT&T and Boingo Wireless said in a press release that they were “working to deploy” AT&T 5G+ in 12 airports nationwide, including John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City and Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. Dallas Love Field Airport in also was among the airports announced.
AT&T Highlights: 5G mid-band spectrum, AT&T Fiber, Gigapower joint venture with BlackRock/disaggregation traffic milestone
A Tale of two Telcos: AT&T up (fiber & mid-band 5G); VZ down (net income falls; cost-cutting coming)
Deutsche Telekom (DT) announced a new campus network solution for business customers. The new service, named “Campus Network M with Industrial Frequencies,” will offer business customers all the benefits of a private 5G network — without the need for additional investments in their own 5G SA core network.
- New Deutsche Telekom business customer offer enables cost-effective use of own 5G industrial frequencies in the 3.7 to 3.8 GHz range
- Solution combines advantages of public and fully private mobile networks for industrial applications
- Successful pilot with German machine manufacturer Arburg. The commercial launch followed successful tests in the 5G Campus network of the injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg in January 2023.
- Based on a 5G campus infrastructure within Telekom’s public network, with the new product companies can additionally use their own 5G industrial frequencies in the 3.7 to 3.8 Gigahertz (GHz) range exclusively.
The new DT solution is based on the existing business customer product “Campus Network M”. This is a so-called dual-slice campus network, which is operated via the public 3.6 GHz frequency range in Telekom’s 5G network. It combines the strengths of the public 5G network with the exclusivity of a virtual private network. This means that, on the one hand, companies benefit from optimal and stable coverage via Telekom’s public 5G network – for example, for employees, suppliers or customers. On the other hand, mission-critical data traffic, for example from machinery, runs separately by a virtual private network and can also be prioritized.
The new Campus-Network M product with industrial frequencies goes one step further. Without building additional infrastructure and the associated costs, companies benefit from the exclusivity of the local 5G spectrum in the 3.7 to 3.8 GHz range. Other than Telekom’s public 3.6 GHz spectrum, these 5G frequencies are specifically made available by the German Federal Network Agency for industrial purposes. Previously, to use these purely private frequencies companies would need to install their own 5G core network infrastructure on site. With the new solution, however, business customers get their own core network components within the Telekom network. Critical data thus continues to run separately from the public network – at high bandwidths and without being influenced by public data traffic. With considerable cost synergies through shared components, the customer therefore receives an additional purely private campus network.
The new offering enables the use of exclusive SIM cards for connected devices and guarantees full private 5G network performance with download speeds of up to 1GBit/s. At the same time, public 5G coverage is fully available. This provides customers with two 5G frequency bands and a total of around 190 MHz of bandwidth.
“Our new 5G Campus network offering enables our customers to digitalize and optimize their business in a smarter way. By integrating their own spectrum into local 5G networks in a cost-efficient way, companies now get additional and exclusive 5G bandwidth for their digital applications,” says Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director responsible for Business Customers at Telekom Deutschland GmbH. “In this way, our pilot customer Arburg is already benefiting from the huge potential of private 5G performance for smart manufacturing – and is thus living up to its reputation as pioneer in the fields of production efficiency and digitalization.”
In order to use the industrial frequencies, the machines at the Arburg Customer Center in Lossburg were equipped with special routers and exclusive SIM cards. Separated from the public data traffic, Arburg can thus test innovative applications such as automated production processes. Furthermore, at the customer center, clients from the various plastics processing industries, such as the automotive, electrical and packaging industries or medical technology, can test digital manufacturing concepts based on 5G.
“By integrating Deutsche Telekom’s new 5G Campus solution, we are leveraging synergies and kick-starting the next stage when it comes to digitalization for the efficient production of plastic products,” says Jürgen Boll, Managing Director Finance, Controlling and IT at Arburg. “Without any additional structural measures, we were able to build on the existing campus network and can benefit from even more 5G bandwidth for the digitalization of our machines and systems with our own 5G industrial frequencies.”
Image Credit: Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom’s campus network portfolio:
Deutsche Telekom has been offering campus network solutions for companies since 2019 and currently operates more than thirty of these local mobile networks based on 5G or LTE across Germany. The offering ranges from locally reinforced public mobile service on company premises to the company’s own private campus network based on 5G standalone technology. Further information for business customers is available at www.telekom.de/campus-netze.
NTT Ltd., a leading global IT infrastructure and services company, and SES, a leading global content connectivity service provider via satellite, today announced a multi-year partnership to use SES satellites to deliver NTT’s Edge as a Service to enterprise customers. The collaboration will bring together NTT’s expertise in networking and enterprise managed services with SES’s unique satellite capabilities to deliver reliable connectivity to enterprises that must meet surges in connectivity demand or are based beyond the reach of fixed terrestrial networks.
The unique offering combines NTT’s fully managed Private 5G and Edge Compute with SES’s second-generation medium earth orbit communications system – O3b mPOWER – to provide expanded and reliable connectivity. This solution is intended for companies operating in regions where terrestrial networks are lacking and enterprises wanting to leverage high-performance connectivity to increase their efficiency and grow revenue. Through the combined versatility of Private 5G networks and satellite technology, this end-to-end solution is expected to propel industries – such as energy, mining, maritime, manufacturing, industrial, etc. – that have otherwise been limited by connectivity today and will need to ramp up their digital transformation plans and increase revenue streams.
The announcement offers more evidence that the capabilities of modern satellites are able to meet the increasingly complex connectivity demands of enterprises, rather than just being a connectivity solution of last resort for companies brave enough to base themselves in the middle of nowhere. Further proof can be seen from the regularity with which the likes of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operators Starlink and OneWeb have been signing up new partners lately.
SES offers global coverage via fleets of geostationary (GEO) and mid-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites. It has begun upgrading its MEO constellation, called O3b, to its more powerful, second generation satellites – which it is calling O3b mPower – to provide higher bandwidth and lower latency. The first two of 11 planned satellites blasted off from Cape Canaveral in December. The O3b mPower network is due to enter commercial service in the third quarter of this year.
“We are excited to embark on this journey with SES, combining our collective expertise to help businesses digitally transform and scale,” said Miriam Murphy, CEO Europe at NTT Ltd. “As organizations grapple with the challenges of a rapidly changing world, it is now more important than ever to leverage the power of technology to drive growth and innovation.”
Putting control and ownership back into the hands of the customer, the joint solution will deliver coverage to over 190 countries with public-private roaming. In addition to NTT’s Private 5G and Edge Compute capabilities, NTT will also provide use-case consulting and design, application development, system integration, implementation, and managed services, while SES will provide end-to-end satellite networks via O3b mPOWER that will be seamlessly integrated with NTT’s offering.
“Private 5G is a transformative power that enables enterprises to build upon existing network infrastructure and deliver reliable, high bandwidth, and low latency connections for multiple use cases operating on a single Private 5G network,” said Olivier Posty, Country Managing Director Luxembourg, NTT Ltd. Posty adds, “As our customers continue to innovate, network partners with the right skills and expertise will be critical to success in today’s competitive market. NTT’s robust Private 5G network-as-a-service full stack solution, delivered on-premises, at the edge, or as a cloud service, is complemented by NTT’s 24/7 remote monitoring services and a CIO self-service portal, ensuring that NTT’s full stack of managed Edge Compute services delivers real-time actionable intelligence to drive processing efficiency and accelerate business performance.”
NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service offering includes IoT, Edge Compute, and Private 5G connectivity delivered by NTT across its global footprint. NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service is a unique, fully managed, integrated solution that accelerates business process automation, enabling enterprises to quickly deploy their applications more securely and monitor them closer to the edge, thereby reducing downtime, improving user experience, and optimizing costs.
“This partnership between NTT and SES is an industry-first milestone at the whole industry level, combining massive amounts of expertise that both companies are bringing in each field, and the joint value proposition is ahead of the curve in terms of added value that will be provided to customers. This will open great opportunities also in countries where 5G spectrum is not yet ready, enabling the transformation of companies at a global scale,” said Alejandro Cadenas, Associate Vice President of EMEA Telco Mobility Research, IDC.
According to John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Strategy Officer at SES, the partnership is one of its kind as both companies jointly provide comprehensive and resilient connectivity solutions for customers around the world. “In addition to its predictable low latency capabilities, O3b mPOWER’s best throughput and full flexibility on asymmetric or symmetric services will result in the seamless integration and extension of terrestrial and satellite networks, enabling our customers to unlock the full potential of emerging technologies like 5G, IoT, and cloud computing, and drive digital transformation across industries,” he said.
The partnership between NTT and SES comes as organizations are increasingly turning to technology to drive growth and innovation. Organizations recognize the positive impact of high-speed connectivity and resilient networks on business operations, driving demand and fueling widespread digital transformation. By leveraging their respective strengths, NTT and SES are well positioned to provide customers with the innovative Edge as a Service solutions they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
About NTT Ltd:
As part of NTT DATA, a USD 30 billion IT services provider, NTT Ltd. is a leading IT infrastructure and services company serving 65% of the Fortune Global 500 and more than 75% of the Fortune Global 100. We lay the foundation for organizations’ edge-to-cloud networking ecosystem, simplify the complexity of their workloads across multi-cloud environments, and innovate at the edge of their IT environments where networks, cloud and applications converge. We offer tailored infrastructure and ensure consistent best practices in design and operations across all of our secure, scalable and customizable data centers. On the journey towards a software-defined future, we support organizations with our platform-delivered infrastructure services. We enable a connected future.
Visit us at services.global.ntt
SES has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries around 8,000 channels and has an unparalleled reach of 369 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges (Ticker: SESG). Further information is available at: www.ses.com
Private 5G ecosystem is evolving:
Private 5G is running behind schedule. Dell’Oro’s VP Stefan Pongratz adjusted the firm’s private wireless forecast downward to reflect the current state of the market. Still, the slow uptake is not dampening the enthusiasm for private wireless. If anything, the interest is growing and the ecosystem is evolving as suppliers with different backgrounds (RAN, core, Wi-Fi, hyperscaler, in-building, SI) are trying to solve the enterprise puzzle.
According to Dell’Oro’s data, the total private wireless small cell market outside of China exceeds $100 million. But Pongratz indicated that’s not very much. “Commercial private wireless revenues are still so small. We estimate private wireless small cells is still less than 1% of the overall public-plus-private RAN market in 2022.”
He did concede that the private wireless small cell market outside of China is growing at double digits. “It’s heading in the right direction,” said Pongratz. “A lot of suppliers see good things for 2023.”
According to Stefan, the top three private wireless vendors in the world are Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson. Celona has said that its goal is to overtake Nokia in private wireless. Celona CEO Rajeev Shah said that based on Nokia’s public earnings reports, the company seems to be garnering about 30-35 private wireless customers a quarter and has about 515 of these customers in total. Shah said these numbers aren’t huge, and the industry has a long way to go.
Below is a summary of the private RAN, core, and SI/services providers that Stefan is currently monitoring.
Pongratz said the private wireless market can also be segmented by macro versus small cell. He said private wireless has been around for quite some time — since 2G. But traditionally, it was used as a wide area network (WAN), using the 3GPP definition for non-public networks. Often these networks deployed macros for very large organizations such as utility companies.
“The shiny new object is really the local campus deployments; that’s really small cells,” said Pongratz. “There will be a component of the new shiny that is also WAN, like a car manufacturer that could use both macros and small cells.”
But regardless, whether the private wireless market is segmented by macro or small cell, Dell’Oro still finds the top three suppliers are Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.
Virtualized RAN is gaining momentum:
As we now know, vRAN started out slow but picked up some speed in 2022 in conjunction with the progress in the US. The challenge from a forecasting perspective is that the visibility beyond the greenfields and the early brownfield adopters is limited, primarily because purpose-built RAN still delivers the best performance and TCO. As a result, there is some skepticism across the industry about the broader vRAN growth prospects.
During MWC, Steffan learned four things: 1) Near-term vRAN visibility is improving – operators in South Korea, Japan, US, and Europe are planning to deploy vRAN in the next year or two. 2) vRAN performance is firming up. According to Qualcomm, Vodafone (and Qualcomm) believes the energy efficiency and performance gap between the traditional and new Open vRAN players is shrinking (Vodafone publicly also praised Mavenir’s OpenBeam Massive MIMO AAU). Samsung also confirmed (again) that Verizon is not giving up any performance with Samsung’s vRAN relative to its purpose-built RAN. 3) vRAN ecosystem is expanding. In addition to existing vRAN suppliers such as Samsung, Ericsson, Mavenir, Rakuten Symphony, and Nokia announcing improvements to their existing vRAN/Cloud RAN portfolios, more RAN players are jumping on the vRAN train (both NEC and Fujitsu are expecting vRAN revs to ramp in 2023). And perhaps more interestingly, a large non-RAN telecom vendor informed us they plan to enter the vRAN market over the next year. 4) The RAN players are also moving beyond their home turf. During the show, Nokia announced it is entering the RAN accelerator card segment with its Nokia Cloud RAN SmartNIC (this is part of Nokia’s broader anyRAN strategy).
Skepticism is on the rise
Not surprisingly, disconnects between vision and reality are common when new technologies are introduced. Even if this is expected, we are sensing more frustration across the board this time around, in part because RAN growth is slowing and 5G still has mostly only delivered on one out of the three usage scenarios outlined in the original 5G use case triangle. With 5G-Advanced/5.5G and 6G starting to absorb more oxygen, people are asking if mMTC+/mMTC++ and URLLC+/URLLC++ are really needed given the status of basic mMTC and URLLC. Taking into consideration the vastly different technology life cycles for humans and machines, there are more questions now about this logic of assuming they are the same and will move in tandem. If it is indeed preferred to under-promise and over-deliver, there might be some room to calibrate the expectations with 5G-Advanced/5.5G and 6G.
The current active engagements are across more than 24 countries, including markets like the U.S. where regulators have set aside spectrum assets for direct use by enterprises; this means it’s increasingly possible for buyers to access spectrum without the involvement of mobile network operators.
“As enterprises seek to accelerate and deliver on their journeys towards Industry 4.0 and digitalization, the effective integration and deployment of advanced LTE and 5G private wireless networking technologies becomes instrumental to integrate all enterprise operations in a seamless, reliable, efficient and built in a secure manner,” said Alejandro Cadenas, Associate Vice President of Telco and Mobility Research at IDC. “This expanding, powerful, relationship between Nokia and Kyndryl is a unique combination of vertical and horizontal capabilities, and offers IT, OT and business leaders access to the innovation, tools, and expert resources they need to digitally transform their operations. The partnership offers a compelling shared vision and execution that will enable customers across all industries and geographies to access the ingredients they need to deliver against the promise of digital acceleration, powered by network and edge computing.”
The expanded effort will be enhanced with Kyndryl’s achievement of Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) Advanced accreditation status, which helps ensure that enterprise customers benefit from an expanded lineup of expert resources and skilled practitioners who have extensive training and deep understanding of Nokia products and solutions. In addition, customers will gain access to Kyndryl’s accelerated network deployment capabilities and support of Nokia cellular radio expertise in selected markets.
In response to a question about how direct enterprise access to spectrum has informed market-by-market activity, Kyndryl Global Practice Leader of Network and Edge Paul Savill told RCR Wireless News in a statement, “Spectrum availability is rapidly becoming less of a barrier, with governments allocating licensed spectrum for industrial use and the emergence of unlicensed wireless networking options (such as CBRS in the US, and MulteFire).”