Ericsson is the sole supplier of 5G equipment for Tesla’s first private 5G deployment at its Gigafactory in Berlin, Asad Khan, Research Director for 5G and Wireless Networks at SNS Telecom & IT told Fierce Network.

The network has been in Proof-of-Concept (PoC) mode since 2023, but recently become operational.

“Our understanding is that it is a standalone 5G installation operating in Germany’s 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum for campus networks,” Khan said.

Tesla revealed in early May that it had deployed its first 5G private network in the Berlin factory. The electric car manufacturer didn’t name the 5G supplier but said that it plans to roll out similar networks globally.

“The network provides both indoor and outdoor coverage at the manufacturing plant to support applications ranging from wirelessly updating hundreds of cars to automated intralogistics within the plant’s premises,” Khan noted in an email. “Among other practical and tangible benefits, the private 5G installation has helped the electric vehicle manufacturer to overcome up to 90 percent of overcycle issues for a particular process in the plant’s GA (General Assembly) shop.”

“Ericsson won’t comment on any business with Tesla,” Kelly  Dorsey, VP of communications at Cradlepoint, an Ericsson company, told us in an email. “Any comments from SNS are not confirmed from Ericsson and would be hearsay from a third party,” she said.

The vendor’s reticence on Tesla is not surprising, Tesla doesn’t speak to the media. It dissolved its own PR department sometime in 2020.

5G in more Gigafactories?

SNS, which recently released its latest research on 5G private networking, told us that Tesla has already started deploying private 5G in more of its factories. “One of the first sites to host a private 5G network is the automaker’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas,” Khan said.

It’s not clear yet if Ericsson is involved in this particular deployment. But Khan stated “We wouldn’t be surprised if Ericsson and its Cradlepoint business unit are involved, given the Swedish equipment maker’s recent successes in industrial 5G projects with companies such as Toyota Material Handling (Columbus Production Complex), Cummins (Jamestown Engine Plant), and LG Electronics (Tennessee Factory).”

Indeed, private wireless has proved to be a bright spot for Ericsson of late. Though Q1 2024 was rough for the company as sales fell 14% year on year, Ericsson reported growth in Enterprise Wireless Solutions within both Private Cellular and Cradlepoint.

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