Verizon takes aim at live events with portable private network

US telco Verizon has unveiled a prototype network in a box designed to bridge the gap between public and private deployments.

Andrew Wooden

June 25, 2024

3 Min Read

Verizon is pitching this one at customers that want all the benefits that come with a private mobile network – benefits like performance, reliability, privacy, security, and so-on – but for reasons of a financial or practical nature, these prospective customers can't justify a permanent deployment.

It recently trialled its network in a box (NIB) at a minor league American football game in St. Louis, Missouri, and has also shipped it to venues in Sao Paulo, London, and Munich, in preparation for some NFL games taking place later this year.

These private networks, separated from the heavily-contended public network, will support stable on-field, coach-to-coach comms, as well as connected broadcast cameras, wearables including on-field cameras, and various social media activities.

The solution also lends itself well to other events, like concerts and parades, helping coordinate the efforts of stage crews, security personnel, and production teams, for example.

"The evolution of our network over the past several years has enabled us to create a more modular, portable private network that is ideal for use in situations where the security, scale, reliability, customisation and personalisation of a private network is needed, but a permanent private network is not a tenable solution," said Andrea Caldini, VP of technology and product development at Verizon.

"This prototype solution has already successfully supported a number of live events with more on the horizon," she said. “The intrinsic value in this solution is that it can be deployed in any number of scenarios where the capabilities of a private network are needed such as one-time parade routes, mobile production environments, mobile sporting events, outdoor concert venues and more.”

Technical details are scant, but Verizon's NIB can use either licensed or shared spectrum. It can also be plugged into the local fibre network, and it can be scaled up to support as many as 50 cellular radios.

If Verizon's new toy is anything like other NIB solutions currently on the market – like the one developed by Maryland-based Tecore Networks – it will come with an integrated core network, IMS, remote radio head (RRH) and baseband unit (BBU).

Verizon's prototype addresses an important niche of the private cellular market, which could be huge or fairly modest, thanks to the wildly-varied estimates of different research firms.

At the modest end of the spectrum there is IDC, which focuses on the infrastructure side of the market. It reckons revenues generated by private LTE/5G kit will reach $5.2 billion by 2027. Juniper Research has had a go at predicting enterprise spending on private networks, and suggested a figure of $10 billion by 2028.

At the other end of the scale are ABI Research and the GSMA. The former predicts that global cellular network revenues will surge from $7 billion in 2023 to $96 billion by the end of the decade, half of which will be attributable to integration services. The GSMA is even more bullish, forecasting that revenue from private 5G network deployments will hit $109.4 billion by 2030, with most of that being generated in China and Asia-Pacific.

While it's difficult to make head or tail of the predictions, there is undoubtedly an opportunity for Verizon to get in on the action with its new NIB.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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