VMO2 launches ‘plug-and-play’ 5G SA private network

vmo2 private network

UK operator VMO2 has launched what it claims is the first portable commercial 5G Standalone private network.

The pitch is that companies can set up a 5G SA private network ‘at the flick of a switch’ without the time and expense of getting engineers in to build one out in the traditional way.

As well as the convenience of an easier installations, the operator says the product’s compact nature can pipe in 5G connectivity in rural locations or places where public network access to 5G may be more limited.

Two of them have been deployed already, the first of which with Telefónica’s innovation arm Wayra which has been using the network since last summer. The product was also trialled with various companies working on things such as VR and IoT, we’re informed.

Under the hood of the ‘slightly larger than a carry-on airline bag’ device is Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) and Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE), and VMO2 claims it is the first telco to incorporate the latter into its private wireless offering.

“Moving beyond trials, Virgin Media O2 Business is now the UK’s first telco to offer a portable commercial 5G Standalone Private Network,” said Jo Bertram, Managing Director at Virgin Media O2 Business. “Britain is a hub for innovation, so it’s crucial that companies operating here can access the connectivity needed to create new experiences for customers. From start-ups to large enterprises, our latest network solution will enable 5G trials and deployment without the time or cost of building a whole network. Removing barriers, like location and cost, to ensure that businesses get the connection they need.”

Bruno Moraes, Managing Director at Wayra UK added: “Reliable, fast, precise, on-demand connectivity is a must for all businesses, especially those in the most challenging environments like hospitals and construction sites etc. This plug-and-play private network unlocks reliable and low-cost connectivity for those industries whenever and wherever they need it, which is game-changing. In partnership with Virgin Media O2, we are collaborating with corporate customers and startups in these areas to test this network and build new products on the foundation of new levels of connectivity.”

Vodafone was showing off something similar earlier this year – a prototype that can act as a private 5G network, the headline innovation being that it runs off of a credit card sized Raspberry Pi computer within the housing, making is small and cheap. However, we haven’t seen that translate into a commercial product as yet.


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