Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) launched what it claimed as the UK’s first commercially available plug-and-play standalone private 5G network for enterprises, a product designed to widen access to the technology architecture.
In a statement, VMO2 noted the network kit is portable and can be easily set-up and used by people who were not telecoms engineers, factors it indicated meant it could be used by companies of all sizes.
Following trials, the product is currently powering two private network deployments.
Its installation at the London branch of Telefonica’s start-up accelerator Wayra is being used by organisations based at the campus, VMO2 added, including by industrial communications specialists Mobilus Labs.
The operator noted in trials, companies offering products “ranging from virtual reality applications to IoT services have already shown benefits including high reliability, enhanced data security, and ultra-low latency”.
Applications running on the private networks use Nokia’s industrial edge platform.
Among use cases cited by VMO2 is the demonstration of standalone 5G applications outside of areas with widespread coverage and supporting enterprise deployments in rural areas.
VMO2 Business MD Jo Bertram said the system provides 5G connectivity for “trials and deployment without the time or cost of building a whole network”.
The executive explained the project aims to remove barriers “like location and cost, to ensure that businesses get the connection they need.”
A system designed to meet a similar enterprise need was demonstrated by rival Vodafone Group in February, which noted the new-style radios could widen access to private networks to smaller business than can currently afford them. However, a subsequent product is yet to be made available to the market.
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