US and European Operators See Private Cellular Network Traction

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData’s new report (please see ”Private LTE/5G Network Services”) profiles AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and BT. These operators announced new wins/deals and diverse technology and use case-specific alliances over the last six months.

• Announcements disclose not only the expanded use of private cellular by customers, but also plans to deploy 5G more widely, leverage technologies such as AR/VR and edge, and to deploy low-latency applications.

Private LTE/5G network services are offered by leading mobile operators and are aimed at business customers looking for dedicated connectivity, security, and data privacy combined with the flexibility of cellular technology and its support for advanced use cases within industrial manufacturing sites and other geographically constrained environments such as utilities, mines, ports, and campuses. Many of these businesses are leveraging private 4G; others are deploying or planning to use 5G to take advantage of its high speeds and low latency, often in combination with edge computing. Private 5G is also positioned as a follow-on and/or complement to in-building/campus WiFi networks. Leading mobile operators are gaining new customers from private networks and anticipate substantial future revenues for connectivity, as well as value-added services such as design, testing, proofs of concept, integration, application enablement, edge computing, and ongoing management. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, there are 889 commercial deployments of private cellular networks globally, including only one deployment per customer per country.

GlobalData’s Competitive Landscape Assessment for private 4G/5G network services looked at offerings of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and BT. Public announcements were a useful gauge of overall activity. The recent news items below shed light on key trends in deployments, verticals, technology alliances, and use cases.

US Operators

  • AT&T participated in a US Department of Defense (DoD) and US Navy demonstration showcasing private 5G-powered solutions to support a Naval ‘smart warehouse.’ AT&T’s network delivered throughput speeds of 3.9 Gbps with less than 10 ms of latency.
  • AT&T and Lockheed Martin tested the secure and rapid transfer of UH-60M Black Hawk health and usage data between an AT&T 5G private cellular network and Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL multi-site pilot network. It demonstrated that wireless 5G on the flight line can support accelerated maintenance operations and highly secure interoperability between the AT&T mmwave 5G private cellular network and the 5G.MIL pilot network.
  • Verizon Business and Virginia International Terminals (VIT) will build a private 5G network at one of The Port of Virginia’s main container terminals. VIT will use the network to explore the use of autonomous trucks for the drop-off and pick-up of shipping containers. The on-site 5G private network deployment also gives VIT the ability to replace WiFi with secure, private 5G connectivity across its VIT facility, a 275-acre marine terminal.
  • T-Mobile launched 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS), aimed at enterprises and government organizations, using its public mobile network, a hybrid mobile network, or a private mobile network. Key partners are Dell, Ericsson, and Nokia. Use case examples include smart video analytics, computer vision and inspection, fixing manufacturing defects before machines break, and AR/VR experiences for training or field service.
  • T-Mobile and Oceus teamed for offerings to the US government, focusing on T-Mobile’s 5G network and Oceus’ 5G products. Oceus’ extensive experience in deploying cellular broadband in military environments, combined with T-Mobile’s 5G ANS, will provide new capabilities and cutting-edge use cases for the US government/DoD such as AR/VR, maintenance and logistics, training, and active operations.

European Operators

  • Telefónica launched a remote operation service with augmented reality for industrial customers, leveraging TeamViewer and smart devices (e.g., glass, phones, or tablets). The solution claims to streamline manufacturing processes by up to 25% and reduce errors by up to 50%, as well as shorten machine downtime and reduce travel costs and carbon footprint.
  • BT partnered with Atos to launch Digital Vision, a solution based on Atos’ Computer Vision Platform and BT’s connectivity and compute offerings, including public and private 5G, fiber broadband, edge computing, and IoT connectivity management. The companies target manufacturing, logistics, and other organizations in BT’s footprint, with end-to-end solutions for transport safety, traffic monitoring, quality, and location tracking.
  • Deutsche Telekom launched 5G Box To Go, giving customers the opportunity to test a private 5G campus network on their own premises and test integration into their own processes. Providing a functioning private campus network in compact form, the package includes 5G-capable end devices, setup and commissioning, project management and support, and monitoring of the test phase by DT experts.
  • Orange Belgium deployed a 5G standalone core network with partners Ericsson, Nokia, and Oracle, enabling advanced services including its Virtual MPN solution served from a network slice.
  • Vodafone and The Welding Institute are helping Ford co-create the “Factory of the Future” using a 5G Mobile Private Network at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Dunton, Essex (UK) as part of the 5G Testbeds & Trials program supported by the UK government. Vodafone’s goal is to help Ford redeploy assets into factories to speed up EV manufacturing.

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