- First major commercial 5G private network agreement of its kind in the UK
- Multi-million-pound deal will combine BT’s expertise in building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading 5G network technology and enterprise solutions
- BT and Ericsson will be offering 5G private network solutions to business and enterprise customers across the UK
BT and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) today announced a multi-million-pound new partnership to provide commercial 5G private networks for the UK market – the first agreement of its kind in the country.
The two companies have signed a multi-year contract that will enable BT to sell next-generation mobile network technology products to businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, defense, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.
Ericsson Private 5G is a fit-for-purpose, dedicated and agile private network solution that provides guaranteed high-performing indoor and outdoor 5G cellular coverage, making it suitable for a range of uses – particularly in environments such as factories, education campuses and other large sites where security and ultra-low latency connectivity are important.
New innovative applications and IoT capabilities can be enabled through a private 5G network to improve productivity, optimize business operations and drive cost savings, such as asset tracking, predictive maintenance, connected sensors, real-time data processing, automation and robotics.
According to a forecast from MarketResearch.com, 5G private networks are predicted to grow at an average rate of 40 per cent a year between 2021 and 2028, by which time the market will be worth $14bn (£10.7bn). Both BT and Ericsson believe there is significant demand from UK businesses looking to take advantage of the benefits the new technology can provide.
Marc Overton, Managing Director of BT’s Division X, part of its Enterprise business, said: “This UK-first deal we have signed with Ericsson is a huge milestone and will play a major role in enabling businesses’ transformation, ushering in a new era of hyper-connected spaces.
“We have combined our skill and expertise at building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading, sustainable and secure 5G network equipment, to offer a pioneering new proposition that will be attractive to many industries. 5G private networks will also support smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0 which can realize significant cost savings and efficiencies for manufacturers.
“Unlike a public network, a private 5G network can be configured to a specific business’s needs, as well as by individual site or location. They also provide the foundation to overlay other innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, VR and AR, opening up a multitude of possibilities.”
Katherine Ainley, CEO Ericsson UK & Ireland said: “This ground-breaking agreement with BT means we are together taking a leading role in ensuring 5G has a transformative impact for the UK. The high quality, fast and secure connectivity provided by Ericsson Private 5G can help organizations make all-important efficiency gains that can create safer, more productive, and sustainable business operations and help the country build global leaders in the industries and technologies of the future.”
Case study – Belfast Harbour
BT and Ericsson have already worked together on several major projects incorporating private 5G networks, including Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland, as they accelerate its ambition to become the world’s best regional smart port.
The partners have installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of operational port. This is helping to drive operational efficiencies and accelerate its digital transformation through optimizing processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping, as well as boosting productivity through the smooth-running of the Port’s operations.
Every year more than 1.75 million people and over half a million freight vehicles arrive and depart through the Port every year. While 24 million tonnes of goods are managed and carried by ferries, container ships and cargo vessels.
The partnership is also exploring how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and Connected Autonomous Vehicles can be used together to enhance public safety, physical security and address climate change across the Port and other parts of Belfast City.
Mike Dawson, Corporate Services Director, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, said: “Throughout 2021 and to the end of 2022, we will have completed the implementation of both Public and Private 5G Networks. These are the foundation for several Smart and Green port initiatives, including; CCTV cameras, Air Quality Monitors, Drones, MiFi units to maximize operational efficiencies and a Digital Twin. The technologies have supported our data collection on the movement of people and things through our Road Traffic Screens, Wayfinding App and a Community App for Traffic.”