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
Ericsson and Vodafone Ireland have partnered to install a cutting-edge 5G Standalone Mobile Private Network (MPN) solution for the Irish rugby team to supply fast and reliable in-play data analysis ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in September.
Previously the team relied on standard WiFi across stadiums and training facilities both at home and away. Now giving instant feedback on team plays and tactics, the 5G Standalone MPN solution and artificial intelligence technology ensures faster download and upload speeds and lower latency, which can be utilised for real-time performance analysis and decisions on the pitch.
Using this reliable connectivity, up to eight high-resolution video streams are captured by multiple cameras and a 5G connected drone and then analysed in real-time to collate data on team performance. The technology helps to improve the communication between management, coaches and players and maximises the time on pitch where the smallest tweak to a running line or defensive position, can have a significant impact on the weekend’s game.
Vodafone Ireland and Ericsson have worked closely with the IRFU and their Head of Analytics and Innovation, Vinny Hammond and his analysis team of John Buckley, Alan Walsh and Jack Hannon. This collaboration has led to a clear understanding of the specific performance outcomes sought by such an elite sports team and has supported the design and installation of the Ericsson Private 5G solution, which now enables the management team, coaches and players to feel the real benefit of instant feedback to enhance the ability to make decisions quikcly.
The new solution has been tested at the Irish team’s High Performance Centre and will be brought to France in a bespoke 5G connected van for the World Cup in September.
Vodafone Ireland Network Director, Sheila Kavanagh says: “At Vodafone, we are so proud of our support for the Irish Rugby team, so we’re delighted to bring further value through the delivery of this cutting-edge technology solution. Performance analysis has experienced massive changes in the past couple of decades. What started with pen and paper-based methods for collecting notational data has evolved to using cutting-edge computer-based technologies and artificial intelligence to collect ever increasing amounts of real-time information. Distilling and delivering this data back to the team at top speed requires a reliable, secure and scalable connectivity solution.”
“This 5G MPN, drone and additional technology will support Vinny Hammond and his analytics team to quickly breakdown and organise unstructured data and present it back in a clear manner to other coaching staff and management – helping them understand the performance of the plays and overall team, without delay. It’s fantastic to see it in use in the HPC, but we’re also really excited to support the team with 5G connectivity throughout their time at the World Cup in France with our fully kitted Connected Van. Our 5G MPN technology is a demonstration of how technology and connectivity innovation can enhance the business of sport and the performance of teams, bringing added layers of data and analysis to coaches, management, and their players.”
IRFU Head of Analytics and Innovation, Vinny Hammond says: “So much of our roles revolve around moving large quantities of data so we can analyse performance to understand what is working and what is not. Vodafone’s 5G MPN stretches the boundaries of what we can do in terms of how quickly we can analyse multiple high-resolution cameras and drone footage which ultimately informs our strategic decision making. The work John and Alan have done on this project in conjunction with Vodafone and Ericson has enabled us to push new boundaries at this years RWC. Being on our own 5G network also gives us that level of security and reliability that we really need, and we’ll have the added benefit of that connectivity with our 5G Connected Van, linking back to our High Performance centre, to reduce reliance on third party connectivity.”
John Griffin, Head of Ericsson Ireland, says: “5G is the ultimate platform of future innovation and our successful partnership with Vodafone continues to ensure new organisations like the IRFU can benefit from the low latency, high bandwidth, and secure connectivity of a 5G standalone private network. Our global leadership in 5G technology and accelerated software availability mean the IRFU will be one step ahead of their competitors on and off the field, giving them the best chance of success at an elite level of performance and revolutionizing the future of a key function within the sports industry.”
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.
Telefonica d’Espagne wants to pursue private mobile networks for businesses in the Latin American region and has enlisted Nokia assist. The Spain-based telecoms group and its network equipment vendor partner are talking up their ability to bring about digital transformation for enterprises in Latin America. Through their newly-announced partnership the pair intend to offer Nokia’s portfolio of industrial-grade private wireless network and digitalization platform solutions, concentrating primarily on what they describe as “the most promising industries in the region;” that’s ports, mining, energy and manufacturing.
Juan Vicente Martín, Director for B2B at Telefonica Movistar Empresas Hispanoamérica, said: “In this unprecedented alliance, the benefits of LTE & 5G private wireless will enable Industry 4.0 across industries. With our strategic partner Nokia, we provide the best connectivity, enable greater optimization of operations, achieving important productivity and efficiency rates and contributing to the digitalization of the industrial sectors throughout Latin America.”
Néstor González, Head of Customer Team for Telefonica Corporate, Nokia, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Telefonica, combining our leading Industrial-grade private wireless solutions with Telefónica Hispanoamérica’s growing B2B solutions and services footprint, to jointly reach a wide variety of enterprises and industries throughout the region. We are very excited to be at the forefront of digital transformation for enterprises in Latin America which have tremendous potential for productivity gains from Industry 4.0. We thank Telefónica Hispanoamérica for their confidence in Nokia and we are looking forward to jointly deploying many new networks”.
Nokia has deployed mission-critical networks to more than 2,600 leading enterprise customers in the transport, energy, large enterprise, manufacturing, webscale, and public sector segments around the globe. It has also extended its footprint to more than 595 private wireless customers worldwide across an array of industrial sectors and has been cited by numerous industry analysts as the leading provider of private wireless networking worldwide.
Nokia has statistics to help encourage enterprises to make the leap into private wireless. According to a late 2022 survey by Nokia and GlobalData there were 79 multinationals that have deployed Nokia industrial-grade private wireless solutions. Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents expected to achieve ROI within six months of deployment.
Currently, private mobile networks based on 4G are probably more of an opportunity for Telefonica than 5G-based rollouts, the latest generation of mobile technology being still very much in its infancy in the region.
Indeed, according to the latest iteration of Ericsson’s mobility report, published a week ago, 4G subscriptions accounted for a massive 74% of total mobile connections in the region at the end of last year, with 5G barely figuring at all. The Swedish vendor calculated that there were just 7 million 5G subscriptions in total in Latin America at year-end, while operators added over 60 million 4G subs over the 12 months.
However, Ericsson predicts that 5G uptake will become more meaningful from 2024 onwards and that by the end of 2028 the technology will account for 42% of all mobile subscriptions in the region.
Consumer uptake of 5G does not necessarily directly translate to the state of play in the private wireless market, of course. But it gives us an idea of the maturity of the overall market.
Last September, Ericsson declared a “digital revolution…underway in Latin America,” when it announced the deployment of what it said was the region’s first private 5G standalone network with a wholly on-premises network architecture, operating completely separately from the public mobile network. The customer was conglomerate Nestlé, in Brazil, and the pair worked with network operators Claro and Embratel.
While Nestlé might be the kind of customer telcos and vendors dream about, there is clearly an opportunity to serve smaller and less well-known outfits too, regardless of the state of deployment of 5G.
Nokia noted that it has more the 595 private wireless customers worldwide across various industrial sectors, although it did not mention how many of those are in Latin America. Quite likely a few at most, but as the technology develops in the region, so will the market opportunity.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced the expansion of its connected edge-to-cloud offering with the acquisition of Athonet, a private cellular network technology provider that delivers mobile core networks to enterprises and communication service providers. Combined with the HPE telco and Aruba networking portfolios, Athonet will put HPE at the forefront of a growing market that is predicted by IDC to increase to more than $1.6 billion1 by 2026.
Based in Vicenza, Italy, Athonet has more than 15 years of experience delivering 4G and 5G mobile core solutions to customers and partners globally. Athonet is an award-winning technology pioneer with more than 450 successful customer deployments in various industries, including leading mobile operators, hospitals, airports, transportation ports, utilities, government and public safety organizations.
With enterprises facing complex connectivity challenges across large and remote sites, private 5G offers high levels of coverage, reliability and mobility across campus and industrial environments. It also augments the cost-effective, high-capacity connectivity provided by Wi-Fi. The incorporation of Athonet’s technology will allow HPE to deliver private networking capabilities directly to enterprises as part of HPE’s Aruba networking portfolio, while also enabling communications service providers (CSPs) to quickly deploy private 5G networks for their customers.
“Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge,” said Tom Craig, global vice president and general manager, Communications Technology Group at HPE. “At the same time, enterprise customers are demanding a customized 5G experience with low-latency, segregated resources, extended range and security across campus and industrial environments that complement their existing wireless networks. With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers – and we will offer it as a service through HPE GreenLake.”
HPE expands private 5G solutions for both telcos and the enterprise:
HPE will integrate Athonet’s technology into its existing CSP and Aruba networking enterprise offerings to create a private networking portfolio that accelerates digital transformation from edge-to-cloud. The networking portfolio will provide the following benefits:
- Enhanced private networks that combine the high capacity of Wi-Fi with the coverage and mobility of 5G
- Accelerated private 5G deployments that improve agility and innovation to help telco B2B teams and enterprise customers
- New enterprise revenue streams for telcos with differentiated services leveraging 5G and Wi-Fi
- Alignment of costs to revenues with consumption-based models for enterprises and telcos through HPE GreenLake, reducing the risk of entering new markets
- Management of operational complexity and cost efficiency with 5G orchestration and zero-touch automation to deliver new workloads from edge-to-cloud
With 5G investments running into the billions of dollars, CSPs are looking for simple ways to meet customer needs and drive new B2B revenue by deploying both edge compute and private 5G networks. The addition of Athonet’s software to HPE’s telco portfolio enhances one of the broadest communications portfolios in the market, which serves a base of more than 300 customers across 160 countries and connects more than one billion mobile devices worldwide. Building on its existing private 5G solutions, HPE’s enhanced offering for CSPs will support private 4G and 5G networks and include telco-grade orchestration and automation capabilities. These capabilities will help launch new B2B services that meet growing customer expectations for the connected edge.
“Athonet was founded to provide customers with private 4G and 5G solutions that deliver carrier-grade reliability and performance to suit their increasing and more challenging connectivity needs,” said Gianluca Verin, CEO and co-founder of Athonet. “We are excited to join HPE and combine our highly skilled teams as we expand our joint service provider offerings for the rapidly growing private 5G market and build on HPE’s strategy to be the leading edge-to-cloud solutions provider.”
Private 5G offers enterprises new capabilities that are ultra-secure, easy to deploy and manage, ready for highly specialized applications such as robotics and industrial IoT, data networks and pipelines, and security systems facilitation. The acquisition of Athonet strengthens Aruba’s connected edge portfolio, providing the unique and highly sought-after ability to deliver fully integrated Wi-Fi and private 5G networks. Integration with Aruba Central will enable network managers to administer Wi-Fi and private 5G through a single pane of glass and bring to bear the power of AI-powered insights, workflow automation, and robust security.
HPE GreenLake, HPE’s edge-to-cloud platform, will offer Athonet private 5G offerings, combining all costs for Wi-Fi and private 5G into one single monthly subscription with no capital expenditure. Flexible consumption options, including HPE’s networking as a service, mean private 5G networks can be deployed with reduced risk, little upfront investment and scaled according to demand.
HPE portfolio integration and availability:
HPE will integrate Athonet’s solutions with its existing telco software assets and plans to make them available to customers some time following the close of the transaction. HPE will also integrate the solutions with the Aruba networking portfolio in the near future. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of the third quarter of HPE’s 2023 fiscal year, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
About Hewlett Packard Enterprise:
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud company that helps organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere. Built on decades of reimagining the future and innovating to advance the way people live and work, HPE delivers unique, open and intelligent technology solutions as a service. With offerings spanning Cloud Services, Compute, High Performance Computing & AI, Intelligent Edge, Software, and Storage, HPE provides a consistent experience across all clouds and edges, helping customers develop new business models, engage in new ways, and increase operational performance. For more information, visit: www.hpe.com
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While HPE already offers a 5G cloud-native software core, Athonet gives deeper in-house capabilities to more quickly and directly deploy private 5G networks.
“Given HPE’s Wi-Fi and security assets – like Aruba – I’d say this makes a clear play to simplify management for key enterprise digital assets. And this is the kind of issue that enterprises are often bringing up to us,” Omdia chief analyst of enterprise services Camille Mendler told Channel Futures. (Omdia and Channel Futures share a parent company, Informa.)
Patrick Filkins, IDC‘s research manager for IoT and telecom network infrastructure, said Athonet can give HPE customers an improved option for deploying a private 5G network together with Wi-Fi. Filkins said that integrated portfolio could well serve an enterprise that has already done the heavy legwork of building a Wi-Fi network.
“This is a very complicated task, and one the enterprise itself controls. They don’t want to start from scratch or be forced to have someone else tinkering in their systems, so this acquisition will hopefully provide some assurance to enterprise customers that the vendors will help ensure their customers can repurpose work they’ve already done to integrate a new network technology, and hopefully new use cases,” Filkins said.
Filkins said the acquisition will immediately improve the HPE 5G core and gradually work its way into Aruba portfolio improvements. For example, HPE will integrate Athonet into the Aruba Central network management platform.
“Specifically, we expect HPE/Aruba to over time release follow-on solutions which help enterprises manage the two technologies seamlessly. Enterprises are not interested in deploying both 5G and Wi-Fi networks in a silo. They want a combined solution that can help tackle the integration and management issues from a single pane. This means you’ll see HPE’s telco and Aruba teams working together more closely over time,” Filkins said.
Mendler said one might see a U.S. equivalent in Celona, despite Athonet’s age (founded 2004) compared to that of Celona (founded in 2019). Filkins added that although many vendors provide private and public LTE/5G cores in the U.S., most run their headquarters abroad. He pointed to Cisco and Microsoft-acquired Mavenir, Affirmed Networks and MetaSwitch as 5G core providers in the U.S.
“However, from a competitive standpoint, Athonet competes globally against Nokia, Ericsson, Mavenir, Microsoft Azure, Cisco, etc., among others,” Filkins told Channel Futures. He described Athonet as “no slouch” in the wireless market. He calls the company’s customer base deep, though consisting of smaller customers. HPE said in an announcement that Athonet has performed 450 customer deployments in various verticals. Athonet’s customers include SpaceX, which uses a private cellular network in Antarctica.
Filkins called the Athonet technology offerings “relatively advanced for 5G.” For example, the cloud-native 5G core meets almost all of 3GPP‘s listed functions. He also said Athonet’s core augments HPE’s 5G core offerings.
“The cloud-native part means it can be deployed fully on-site, fully in the cloud, or in a hybrid format. This should cover any scenario the customer wants. [Athonet] has specialized in selling mobile core software to enterprises, and smaller, regional operations for years. It knows the needs of the enterprise well,” Filkins said.
Athonet CEO and co-founder Gianluca Verin said his team looks forward to joining HPE. Moreover, he said he wants to enhance HPE’s goal of being “the leading edge-to-cloud solutions provider.” Verin worked in support and solution engineer positions at Ericsson for eight years before starting Athonet.
HPE’s GreenLake edge-to-cloud services platform will host the private 5G service. HPE executives have said GreenLake as-a-service consumption model will “simplify” enterprises’ entrance into 5G and lower risk.
“I think this is an important step HPE is taking. For the most part, private 5G and Wi-Fi networks have been offered as point solutions, but HPE/Aruba intend to do the ‘under-the-hood’ work to make them as integrated as possible, which is what enterprise customers want,” Filkins said.
In December, HPE said 80% of its top 100 customers have adopted the GreenLake platform. The vendor is also equipping Aruba partners to deliver its network-as-a-service offering.
When HPE unveiled a private 5G offering one year ago, an executive said HPE preferred to go to market though system integrators, telcos and service providers rather than straight to the enterprise. HPE’s telco business serves 300 customers across the world, the company said.
In addition to Telco Network Builder, AWS today announced its Integrated Private Wireless that acts as an infrastructure bridge for network operators that want to offer a private network service tapping into AWS’ infrastructure to end users. This allows AWS to connect incoming customers interested in a private network platform with the #1 cloud service provider’s telecom partners.
“We are really just connecting the customer with the telco, then that relationship is between the two of them,” said Jan Hofmeyr,VP of Amazon EC2. Initial telecom partners include Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Orange, T-Mobile US, and Telefónica. Enterprise customers shopping for private wireless services will be able to purchase an installation from one of those participating operators. “The relationship is directly between the customer and the telco,” Hofmeyr said, noting that the resulting private wireless network will then run atop the AWS cloud.
Hofmeyr said that AWS’ goal is to provide customers with an easy set of options that will allow them to deploy or operate a private network in a manner that meets their needs and abilities. “Right now this is their ask, [it’s] helping us make this onboarding easier, and that’s exactly what we’re focusing on. In the future, we’ll continue to listen to what their needs are and continue to support that,” Hofmeyr added.
This new private network offering is different from AWS’ Private 5G platform that it initially unveiled in late 2021, and has since updated. That platform integrates small cell radio units, AWS’ Outposts servers, a 5G core, and radio access network (RAN) software running on AWS-managed hardware. AWS also handles the spectrum management of this service.
AWS will act as the portal, but telcos will be the managed service providers for the network on behalf of those enterprises or smaller service providers, the company said. As with the telco network builder, AWS will provide a dashboard for monitoring performance and modifying it as needed.
“That’s one of the friction points we saw as we started looking at the private network space,” said Ishwar Parulkar, chief technologist for the telco industry at AWS, in an interview. “There are a lot of enterprise customers who really don’t care about all of this. They just want to be able to use the network and run some applications on top. That’s one of the primary values that we bring with this: lifting that undifferentiated work away from them and managing it in the cloud.”
For Amazon, telcos represent a prime business opportunity: as carriers build new networks with increasing reliance on software and cloud services, Amazon is positioning itself as a tech and cloud partner to help run those services better and more cheaply. It’s been interesting to watch how it has worked to build trust among a group of businesses that have at times been very wary of big tech and the threat of being reduced to “dumb pipes” as tech companies lean on their own architecture and technology advances to build faster and cheaper services that compete directly with what carriers have and plan to roll out. As one example, the company is clear to call these new products “offerings” and not services to make clear that it is not the managed service provider, the carriers’ role.
“We’ve been on this journey for a few years now in terms of really getting the cloud to run telco networks,” said Parulkar. “Our goal here is to make AWS the best place to host 5g networks for both public and private. And on that journey, we’ve been making steady progress.”
For carriers, they are now in a world where arguably communications is just another tech service, so many of them believe that running them with less costs and in more flexible ways will be the key to winning more business, introducing more services and getting better margins. Whether carriers want to wholesale work closer with Amazon, or with any of the cloud providers, for such services, will be the big question.
Japan’s NTT Ltd. today announced the launch of Edge-as-a-Service, a managed edge compute platform that gives enterprises the ability to deploy quickly, manage and monitor applications closer to the edge.
NTT and VMware, in collaboration with Intel (whose role was not specified), are partnering to innovate on edge-focused solutions and services. NTT uses VMware’s Edge Compute Stack to power its new Edge-as-a-Service offering. Additionally, VMware is adopting NTT’s Private 5G technologies as part of its edge solution. The companies will jointly market the offering through coordinated co-innovation, sales, and business development.
NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service offering is a globally available integrated solution that accelerates business process automation. It delivers near-zero latency for enterprise applications at the network edge, optimizing costs and boosting end-user experiences in a secure environment.
NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service offering, powered by VMware’s Edge Compute Stack, includes Private 5G connectivity and will be delivered by NTT across its global footprint running on Intel network and edge technology. This work is an extension of NTT’s current membership in VMware’s Cloud Partner Program. VMware and NTT will each market their corresponding new services to their respective customer bases.
“Combining Edge and Private 5G is a game changer for our customers and the entire industry, and we are making it available today,” said Shahid Ahmed, Group EVP, New Ventures and Innovation CEO, NTT.
“The combination of NTT and VMware’s Edge Compute Stack and Private 5G delivers a unique solution that will drive powerful outcomes for enterprises eager to optimize the performance and cost efficiencies of critical applications at the network edge. Minimum latency, maximum processing power, and global coverage are exactly what enterprises need to accelerate their unique digital transformation journeys.”
“The whole premise behind it is that many of our customers are looking for an end-to-end solution when they’re buying either edge or private 5G architectures as opposed to buying edge compute from XYZ and then a private 5G from somebody else and an IoT solution from someone else. So we thought we would do a full one-stop solution for our customers, particularly those that are in manufacturing and industrial sectors.” Ahmed also said that NTT will also be able to break these services apart for customers that just want one of the services, but they will all be managed by NTT.
Ahmed added: “We have a very simple pricing structure, which is predictable and tier-based so the customer doesn’t have to put up upfront capex, it’s all opex based. Obviously, some verticals like to purchase or acquire technology as a capex, so we can do that as well.”
As factories increase their reliance on robotics, vehicles become autonomous, and manufacturers move to omnichannel models, there is a greater need for distributed compute processing power and data storage with near-instantaneous response times. VMware’s secure application development, resource management automation, and real-time processing capabilities combined with NTT’s multi-cloud and edge platforms, creates a fully integrated Edge+Private 5G managed service. VMware and NTT’s innovative offering resides closer to where the data is generated or collected, enabling enterprises to access and react to information instantaneously.
This solution, which leverages seamless multi-cloud and multi-tenant connectivity, combined with NTT’s capabilities in network segmentation, and expertise with movement from private to public 5G, provides critical benefits for multiple industries, including manufacturing, retail, logistics, and entertainment.
“Enterprises are increasingly distributed — from the digital architecture they rely on to the human workforce that powers their business daily. This has spurred a sea change across every industry, altering where data is produced, delivered, and consumed,” said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, service provider, and edge business unit, VMware. “Bringing VMware’s Edge Compute Stack to NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service will enable our mutual customers to build, run, manage, connect and better protect edge-native applications at the Near and Far Edge while leveraging consistent infrastructure and operations with the power of edge computing.”
NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service platform was developed to help secure, optimize and simplify organizations’ digital transformation journeys. Edge-as-a-Service is part of NTT’s Managed Service portfolio, which includes Network-as-a-Service and Multi-Cloud-as-a-Service, all designed for enterprises to focus on their core business.
According to a newly published Dell’Oro Group report, Mobile Core Network (MCN) market growth will be decreasing. Worldwide MCN 5-year growth is now forecasted at a 2% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), compared to our January 2022 forecast of 3% CAGR.
“The July 2022 forecast is more conservative than the January 2022 forecast due to industry headwinds, including supply chain challenges, higher inflation, an impending recession, Mobile Network Operators’ (MNO) challenges to increase revenues, and regional political conflicts,” said Dave Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “As a result, we reduced the 2022 to 2026 cumulative revenue forecast by 6 percent, decreasing revenues by $3.2 B. The July 2022 cumulative revenue forecast (2022-2026) is now $50.3 B resulting in a 2 percent CAGR.
“We are tracking the number of 5G Standalone (5G SA) MBB networks that have been launched commercially by MNOs. In the first half of 2022, only three new 5G SA networks were launched, KDDI in Japan, DISH Wireless in the US, and China Broadnet in China bringing the total deployed around the world to 27 MNO 5G SA MBB networks,” Bolan added.
Additional highlights from the MCN 5-Year July 2022 Forecast report:
- Year-over-year (Y/Y) MCN revenue growth rates for each year in the forecast are positive but will decrease each year; by 2026, Y/Y revenues will be essentially flat.
- MCN market CAGR forecast by industry segments we expect 5G MCN to be 21 percent, 4G MCN -20 percent, IMS Core 2 percent, and the User Plane Function (UPF) required for Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) 67 percent.
- The North America and China regions are expected to have the lowest CAGRs, while Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific without China regions are expected to have the highest CAGRs.
Dell’Oro Group’s Mobile Core Network & Multi-Access Edge Computing 5-Year January Forecast Report offers a complete overview of the market for Wireless Packet Core including MEC for the User Plane Function, Policy, Subscriber Data Management, and IMS Core with historical data, where applicable, to the present. The report provides a comprehensive overview of market trends by network function implementation (Non-NFV and NFV), covering revenue, licenses, average selling price, and regional forecasts for various network functions. To learn more about this report, please contact us at [email protected]
In a related Dell’Oro “Private Wireless Advanced Research Report,” Stefan Pongranz states that private wireless radio access network (RAN) shipments and revenues are coming in below expectations, resulting in another decreased forecast.
“We have not made any changes to the potential market calculations and still estimate private wireless is a massive opportunity,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “At the same time, the message we have communicated for some time still holds – we still envision the enterprise and industrial play is a long game. This taken together with the fact that the standalone LTE/5G market is developing at a slower pace than previously expected forms the basis for the near-term downgrade,” continued Pongratz.
Additional highlights from the Private Wireless Advanced Research Report:
- Private wireless projections have been revised downward to reflect weaker than expected progress with private wireless LTE and 5G small cells.
- Total private wireless RAN revenues, including macro and small cells, are projected to roughly double between 2022 and 2026.
- Standalone private LTE/5G is now expected to account for a low single-digit share of the total RAN market by 2026.
Dell’Oro Group’s Private Wireless Advanced Research Report with a 5-year forecast includes projections for Private Wireless RAN by RF Output Power, technology, spectrum, and region. To purchase this report, please contact us at [email protected].
Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, enterprise networks, data center infrastructure, and network security markets. Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions. For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit www.delloro.com.
Intel has acquired private 5G network provider Ananki, several months after the startup spun out of the non-profit Open Networking Foundation (ONF) to commercialize open-source network technologies.
The acquisition was confirmed Monday on LinkedIn by Guru Parulkar, PhD, who was co-founder and CEO of Ananki and executive director of the Open Networking Foundation.
–>His ONF successor was not disclosed, despite my LI comment enquiring about it.
Intel declined to comment on the Ananki acquisition and instead only confirmed a development that Parulkar said was related: that the ONF’s development team has joined Intel’s Networking and Edge Group. Intel’s statement echoed a quote provided by top Intel networking executive and former Stanford Professor Nick McKeown, PhD in a press release published by the non-profit. McKeown was previously a part-time Intel Senior Fellow who joined the company after its 2019 acquisition of Barefoot Networks, which he co-founded.
“The addition of these developers will support [Intel’s Network and Edge Group’s] mission to drive the shift toward software-defined and fully programmable infrastructure – from the cloud, through the Internet and 5G networks, all the way out to the Intelligent Edge. Intel intends to continue to support and contribute to ONF’s open-source efforts,” an Intel spokesperson said. No financial terms were disclosed.
Ananki provides an open-source, software-defined service that aims to make private 5G networks “as easy to consume as Wi-Fi” for enterprises working on so-called Industry 4.0 projects. This involves connecting a variety of things, including cameras, sensors, robots, and autonomous vehicles, over high-speed networks in various settings, from factories to retail stores.
Ananki has a diverse range of products, including a SaaS-based 5G software stack, small cell radios, SIM cards, and a dashboard for monitoring and analyzing network activity. These are provided through a subscription-based service that charges organizations based on how much 5G coverage they need.
If Intel continues to offer Ananki’s products as a subscription service, it would fall in line with the semiconductor giant’s plan to buoy hardware sales with a significant increase in software revenue, as The Register has previously reported. Less than two weeks ago, The Register reported that Intel plans to offer the cloud optimization software of Granulate, another startup it plans to acquire, in Xeon CPU sales pitches.
The Ananki transaction is part of a broader effort by the Open Networking Foundation to support the increasing commercialization of its open-source, software-defined networking technologies, which it originally developed with the financial support of its more than 100 members. Those include Intel as well as several other prominent tech companies, such as AMD, AT&T, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, and T-Mobile.
The Open Networking Foundation said this new commercialization shift involves open-sourcing the entirety of its production-ready software, which includes private 5G, SD-RAN, SD-Fabric and SD-Core technologies that serve as the basis of Ananki’s products. The nonprofit has also made its software-defined broadband and P4 programmable network technologies available as open source.
“We have built platforms that naysayers said were doomed to fail, we’ve proven what’s possible, and today a number of our platforms have been deployed in production networks and others are now production ready and expected to be broadly adopted,” said Parulkar, who is now vice president of software within Intel’s Network and Edge Group.
The ONF seems to want to move development from internal open source teams to member organizations. As such, the nonprofit is transitioning a majority of its development team to Intel’s Network and Edge Group, which is also the new home of Ananki.