Verizon to offer private 5G to enterprise in Europe and Asia

Verizon to offer private 5G to enterprise in Europe and Asia-Pacific

20 October 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Verizon is building a global private 5G service for enterprises outside the US, focusing on the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

The US-based company is working with Nokia, the Finnish equipment vendor, to build 5G infrastructure in factories, offices and other private sites.

Tami Erwin (pictured), CEO of Verizon Business, said this morning: “Private 5G networks will be a transformative technology that will drive the new era of disruption and innovation for enterprises around the world.”

She said that Verizon would help enterprises work with “different spectrum rules” in each country. “Entrepreneurs can take the opportunity to seize the moment.”

Verizon will not be acquiring spectrum outside the US, said Sowmyanaryan Sampath, Verizon’s president of global enterprise. “But we will be working with companies as they acquire private licences.” A number of countries – including Germany – have already allocated some spectrum to private industrial use.

Verizon is working with the 5G Future Forum, an organisation it set up in July 2020 with América Móvil, KT, Rogers, Telstra and Vodafone, to focus on multi-access edge computing-enabled solutions. “We’ll be working with carriers around the world to standardise the technology,” said Sampath. “We’ll share best practice and share use cases.” But there won’t be a wholesale arrangement between Verizon and other mobile operators, he implied.

Peter Konings, Verizon’s director of products for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Verizon would have a “globally managed ecosystem” that would be created “on a country-by-country basis, working with customers”.

Brian Fitzgerald, senior VP of global solutions at Nokia, said: “Private wireless connectivity has become central to many industries in realising their long-term digital transformation goals. By delivering private 5G together with Verizon, we’re paving the way to accelerate digitalisation for the most demanding industries who crave reliable wireless connectivity.”

Private 5G has advantages over private 4G and Wifi 6 because it has characteristics such as “single-digit latency on the last leg”, said Sampath, and the ability to work with dense networks, abilities “that don’t exist with 4G”.

Wifi 6 has use cases such as streaming video, he said, “but for mission-critical services you need very high reliability. The technologies can coexist.”