Verizon sees big potential for 5G private networking business in the federal government, manufacturing and education spaces
In fact, Andrea Caldini, VP of product engineering and development at the operator, who talked to us about how the 5G private network market is growing, said, “I think, as we look at manufacturing, this is an area where you see a lot [of interest]. We [also] see a lot of interest from the federal government – those, I really can’t talk about,” she added.
Verizon provides mobile edge compute (MEC), a network architecture that moves cloud computing capabilities to the edge of a cellular network, which enhances its ability to deliver private 5G services, according to Caldini. “We’re the only carrier that has a relationship with the three largest cloud providers, Google, Azure and AWS,” she noted.
“So you look at having this ability to have this massive bandwidth, low latency and your edge compute right there,” she said. “You’re doing everything within the enterprise. It’s very exciting.”
Caldini noted extended reality (XR) is starting to appear in the private networking realm as well. XR is an across-the-board term for augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) — and obviously any technology that requires you to encase yourself in a reality overlaying headset, will demand a high-bandwidth and low latency link-up.
Beyond the factory gates
It's not just manufacturing that can benefit from private 5G services, said Caldini.
“We’re starting to see...education looking at what is the next phase of learning, both in university and in middle school,” she said, adding that Verizon has provided Title 1 schools with 5G connectivity and devices.
Education, safety and training can all benefit from a 5G environment to help people train up without necessarily having to touch expensive equipment thanks to AR/VR and immerisive experiences which "give you a way to learn that is a lot more impactful,” and also cheaper, Caldini said.
Verizon has also long been involved with football, and has heavily invested in 5G for the Super Bowl. It even signed a deal in February 2023 to deliver a managed private wireless network across 30 stadiums in the U.S.
“The relationship we have with the [National Football League] is really what led us to those 30 solutions in the stadiums,” the VP said. As well as the Super Bowls, she said that Verizon has been delivering different applications that use the 5G network in the stadium, such as coach-to-coach direct communication.
Vendor à trois
The operator is working with three different vendors on its private networking ventures. Two of those companies, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), are already major suppliers for Verizon’s public macro 5G network. Verizon, however, is also working with startup Celona on smaller private networks that use 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum.
Caldini claimed that Verizon had “more partners than rivals” in the private network space. Of course, AT&T (NYSE: T) might disagree with that, as it is expecting more mid-market enterprises to move into the 5G private networking space.
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