Private wireless network provider Betacom today announced a partnership with UScellular to deliver the industry’s first private/public hybrid 5G networks, advancing Industry 4.0 initiatives across the United States. The service provides security and control over business data, both on-premises and while roaming among company facilities. This seems to be similar to the “hybrid cloud” concept where a public cloud is used for general computing while a private cloud is used for mission critical applications and secure storage.
The private/public hybrid 5G network service allows organizations with multiple sites across numerous locations to maintain connectivity between locations. Enterprises working to modernize their operations across dispersed locations now have a cohesive mobility strategy with trusted partners for Industry 4.0. Uptime and performance are assured for improved operational efficiency and productivity with Betacom-backed Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
“This relationship with Betacom helps to establish a new bar for how the entire wireless industry thinks about, builds, delivers and utilizes wireless networks,” said Kim Kerr, senior vice president, enterprise sales and operations for UScellular. “These new capabilities significantly accelerate the return on investment for digital transformation and modernization initiatives for organizations of all types, from enterprise to retail to government, and move the industry as a whole forward, faster.”
UScellular’s network and extensive access agreements give customers connectivity across the United States. UScellular also provides data backhaul between sites. Enabling devices to use a single SIM with profiles for both Betacom private CBRS networks and the UScellular network ensures mobility, while integrated communication and coordination between the two companies’ 5G network cores enables seamless roaming across the country.
“Betacom and UScellular are breaking new ground for their customers and setting new precedents for the industry,” said Joe Madden, Founder and President, Mobile Experts Inc. “Enabling device mobility from facility to facility with a transition from CBRS to cellular in both directions has never been solved. This makes private/public hybrid 5G networks extremely valuable for a wide range of industries.”
Michael Davies, VP of business partner strategy and 5G-as-a-service at Betacom, explained in an interview that Betacom’s authentication system is the “secret sauce” to securing this seamlessness within an “island” environment. “We have joined together to provide a single SIM that is authenticated within the static network and then is accepted, secured and maintained throughout the mobile network into the next static environment of the island,” Davies said.
David Allen, director of emerging technologies at UScellular, added that this approach also is key to how the operator segments the private network service. “We treat that private cellular network as a peer of ours, and so when we see that SIM in the public cellular domain, whether it’s on our native network or it’s on one of our roaming partners network, we will authenticate against that private [home subscriber server], that private cellular network, get the corresponding authentication, accept or deny and then that device can proceed with the policy controls that that private network has put in place for it,” Allen said.
“You may see other people claim hybridization. We’ve been early in that messaging of hybridization of networks, the public-private hybrid networks. Others have started saying that as well, but it’s really when you peel back the layers it’s typically a two-SIM solution. That’s for the most part, historically, the way that solution’s gone. We’re working together to drive toward that single-SIM solution so that we’re authenticating a private SIM and a private device that happens to be in the public network against that private network.”
Improved Security and Control:
The solution establishes and maintains end-to-end security, utilizing virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure that all data effectively remains on the customer premises while devices and sensors are in transit between locations. It also provides unmatched resiliency by using the cellular network for failover in cases where the CBRS network or local internet service providers (ISPs) suffer an outage. The new network architecture utilized for this service facilitates mission-critical Command, Control, Communication, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) services and solutions which require the highest degrees of data and device security. Reducing dependency on public clouds for data transfer by creating a private network through the carrier network results in fewer vulnerabilities and fewer attacks.
“The service we are announcing today recognizes that the wireless world is changing, and that connectivity, in all of its forms, must change with it,” said Betacom CEO Johan Bjorklund. “Organizations today need seamless mobility with incredibly high densities of sensors and devices to accelerate their Industry 4.0 initiatives. This new service acknowledges and uniquely meets that need.”
Betacom offers the first fully-managed private 5G network, building on its long history as a wireless infrastructure provider to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, the company has regional offices throughout the country. Having completed more than 800 large-scale design and deployment projects, Betacom inspires confidence among their customers who have worked closely with them to meet their pressing high-performance connectivity needs. Its secure private 5G wireless service is the first managed service of its kind in the United States.
Betacom earlier this year expanded the ecosystem around its platform with more than a dozen partners. This included mobile edge compute work with Google Cloud, Ingram Micro and Intel; application work with ADB SAFEGATE Americas, Evolon, Ingram Micro and Solis Energy; industrial IoT devices from Axis Communications, Ingram Micro, Qualcomm Technologies, SVT Robotics and Vecna Robotics; 5G work with Airspan, Druid Software, FibroLAN and Qualcomm; and system integration work with CDW, Ingram Micro and QuayChain.
The vendor at that time said the expanded ecosystem alleviates ongoing concerns by enterprise IT departments that they will need to manage a disparate combination of equipment, services and connectivity to deploy a private network. This should be beneficial to those enterprise IT staffs that have so far eschewed potential network complexity by going with a private network platform.
For more information, visit https://www.betacom.com.
UScellular now has more than 100,000 Home Internet/Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) customers and it anticipates even more growth over the coming years.
In 2022, fixed wireless services accounted for 90% of home broadband net additions, according to Leichtman Research Group. In the U.S., Verizon is by far the leader in 4G/5G FWA ending 2022 with 1.452 million fixed wireless home internet customers. The telco added 384K, 393K, 379K, and 342K in the last four quarters. It now has 2.229 million FWA internet subscribers.
In a press release on Tuesday, UScellular Chief Marketing Officer Eric Jagher said they knew rural areas in particular would see great benefit from having a FWA solution.
“We continue to enhance our Home Internet experience for customers, and the growth and positive response we’ve received to this service has us excited for the future. As we celebrate this milestone, we look forward to further updating the service so we can soon surpass hundreds of thousands of Home Internet customers,” Jagher stated.
As UScellular continues to build out its 5G mid-band network, more customers will be able to realize the fast, dependable connectivity that Home Internet provides. Earlier this year, UScellular launched its 5G mid-band network in parts of 10 states and expects to cover 1 million households by the end of the year and 3 million households by the end of 2024. This network can deliver speeds up to 10x faster than its 4G LTE network and low-band 5G.
UScellular initially offered Home Internet on its 4G LTE network and has upgraded the service with low-band, mid-band and mmWave 5G in select markets across the country. Most customers today can access 5G speeds on the service, which has led to a doubling of the customer base over the last 18 months. The company currently offers self-install, plug-and-play internal antennas and routers and a professionally installed external antenna in certain areas. Later this year, the company expects to have additional self-install options available to help meet the evolving needs of customers.
Additionally, UScellular offers a free Internet Setup Coach for all new customers. Experts from Asurion are available via phone to help customers with router placement for the best speeds and getting all essential devices – like computers, TVs and doorbells – connected to their home’s Wi-Fi network.
As UScellular looks to further enhance and expand its Home Internet service especially in rural areas, funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program will be important. Fixed wireless technology will likely be the best and most affordable option in many under- and un-served areas to help bridge the digital divide in the United States.
Indeed, UScellular has made it clear that it wants to use funds from the BEAD program to build more towers and serve more rural areas with FWA while increasing its 5G mobile coverage.
The telco this week reiterated the importance of that BEAD funding. “Fixed wireless technology will likely be the best and most affordable option in many under- and un-served areas to help bridge the digital divide in the United States,” the company stated.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to help customers stay connected to the things that matter most. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. Through its After School Access Project, the company has pledged to provide hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet. Additionally, UScellular has price protected all of its plans, promising not to increase prices through at least the end of 2024. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com.
For more information about UScellular’s efforts:
UScellular today announced the launch of its 5G mid-band network, with customers in parts of 10 states who now have access to the benefits of the company’s faster and stronger network. UScellular’s 5G mid-band technology combined with a mid-band enabled device can provide up to 10x faster speeds than its 4G LTE network and low-band 5G. This technology has more capacity, enhances the mobile experience, and has business and fixed wireless applications.
By the end of June, UScellular’s 5G mid-band network will be available mainly in parts of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, including sections of Rockford, Ill., Des Moines, Iowa and Milwaukee. Communities in Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia and Washington are also included in the initial rollout. By the end of the year, the company plans to cover more than 1 million households in its operating footprint with its 5G mid-band network. The company is using 5G network equipment from Nokia and Ericsson.
“We view mid-band as the sweet spot of 5G because it provides broad coverage, low latency and fast speeds – enabling more people to connect to what matters most at home or on-the-go,” said Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer for UScellular. “As we approach serving 100,000 High-Speed Internet customers later this summer, mid-band will play an important role in furthering the reach and enhancement of that product. We’ve made it a priority to expand the technology to more communities in the coming years.”
Broader 5G coverage (see map) with mid-band technology provides customers and businesses with even faster data connection speeds for a better experience. UScellular will continue to expand its device portfolio, including adding more options for its High-Speed Internet product and additional IoT devices, to further enhance its mobile and fixed connectivity offerings.
UScellular now offers customers low-band, mid-band and high-band mmWave 5G speeds and services. The company expects nearly 3 million households in its operating footprint will have access to 5G mid-band connectivity by the end of 2024.
UScellular’s 5G mid-band network is using 3.45 GHz spectrum that was purchased through Auction 110 granted in 2022. The company is partnering with Nokia and Ericsson for its mid-band buildout. The company was among the top five bidders in the FCC’s 3.45 GHz Auction 110, where it spent over $579 million. It also acquired C-band spectrum for about $1.46 billion in 2021; that spectrum starts to become available later this year.
UScellular did not need to coordinate with the Department of Defense (DoD) for the 3.45 GHz sites that are part of this launch, but DoD coordination is needed for some sites that are to be deployed in the future, according to a company spokesperson.
Speaking at the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connect(X) conference in New Orleans last month, Irizarry said the company expects a “rapid acceleration” of its mid-band spectrum 5G deployment to occur in 2024.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to help customers stay connected to the things that matter most. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations.
Through its After School Access Project, the company has pledged to provide hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet. Additionally, UScellular has price protected all of its plans, promising not to increase prices through at least the end of 2024.
To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com.