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BT and Ericsson ink partnership on private 5G networks

5G mast.jpeg

BT and Ericsson have entered a new multi-million-pound new joint partnership to deliver commercial 5G private networks for the UK market.

Under the terms of the multi-year contract, BT will sell Ericsson's next-gen mobile network technology products to businesses and organisations in sectors such as manufacturing, defense, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.

“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," said Marc Overton, managing director for Division X, Enterprise at BT.

"5G private networks will also support smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0 which can realise significant cost savings and efficiencies for manufacturers."

The deal follows BT's announcement that it was investing almost £100 million over the next three years in its Division X unit to in support of technologies such as 5G, IoT, edge compute, cloud and AI.

Private networks are wireless solutions that provide secure 5G mobile coverage in use cases such as factories and education campuses. Using newer applications and IoT capabilities it can be enabled additional use cases such as asset tracking, predictive maintenance, connected sensors, real-time data processing, automation and robotics.

“This ground-breaking agreement with BT means we are together taking a leading role in ensuring 5G has a transformative impact for the UK," added Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland.

"The high quality, fast and secure connectivity provided by Ericsson Private 5G can help organisations 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.”

In one such use case BT and Ericsson have worked together to incorporate private 5G networks, including Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland, having installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of operational port.

“We’re now into phase two of the project and this includes various use cases such as teleoperation of heavy plant machinery, artificial reality (AR) for remote maintenance, as well as enhanced video AI analytics and the use of drones for surveillance and inspections,” said Overton.

The partnership is also exploring how 5G and technologies such as AI, IoT and connected autonomous vehicles can be used to enhance public safety, physical security, and address climate change across the Port and other parts of Belfast City.

“Throughout 2021 and to the end of 2022, we will have completed the implementation of both Public and Private 5G Networks," said Mike Dawson, corporate services director at Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

"These are the foundation for several Smart and Green port initiatives, including CCTV cameras, Air Quality Monitors, Drones, MiFi units to maximise operational efficiencies and a Digital Twin."