UK enterprises could soon have access to a broader choice of new and exciting private networking solutions.

Nick Wood

April 26, 2023

3 Min Read
5G signal Communication Mast Concept
5G mobile signal Communication Mast (cell tower) Super fast data streaming concept. 3D illustration.

UK enterprises could soon have access to a broader choice of new and exciting private networking solutions.

Vodafone on Wednesday launched what it claims is the UK’s first 5G standalone (SA) mobile private networking (MPN) service, opening the door to more specialised services that require end-to-end 5G infrastructure.

Chief among these is slicing, which will enable customers to optimise network performance and access for different types of traffic, or particular members of staff. A collaboration app like Teams could use a slice with high bandwidth and decent quality of service for all those video meetings, for example. Similarly, mission-critical sensor data or automated guided vehicles (AGVs) might need a slice with extremely low latency to provide real-time connectivity. Or, an enterprise might want to protect certain categories of sensitive data by isolating it to a particular slice and restricting access to specific employees.

“By installing a private and customisable network, Vodafone can support innovation by cultivating new use cases in an environment which brings the best opportunity,” said Nick Gliddon, business director at Vodafone UK, in a statement.

“That could be delivering on low-latency requirements, enhanced security or enabling massive IoT models,” he said. “Whatever the use case, Vodafone can deliver a tailored experience to act as a catalyst for innovation.”

Not only that, but private networks running on 5G SA also represent an opportunity for operators to add more value to their enterprise offerings, which might just provide a welcome boost to service revenue.

Voda has been one of the more vocal of the UK’s operators when it comes to 5G SA, laying claim to more than its fair share of ‘firsts’.

As well as Wednesday’s private 5G SA launch, the telco – in partnership with Coventry University – last week opened the UK’s first 5G SA media innovation lab. As the name suggests, the facility is dedicated to developing relevant use cases for broadcasters and other media companies.

Vodafone also conducted the UK’s first 5G SA trial in 2020, and followed that up a year later with a commercial pilot in three major cities.

By racing out of the blocks with a 5G SA-based private networking service, Vodafone stands a good chance of getting a head start on its rivals.

As ABI Research noted back in February, private cellular networking revenue is expected to grow from $7 billion in 2023 to $96 billion by 2030. However, demand is being driven primarily by outdoor coverage solutions for isolated areas, like quarries, ports, and oil and gas fields etc. 4G is more than adequate for this ‘basic’ level of service, and as a result, ABI expects it to account for the majority of private network deployments, with 5G not projected to overtake 4G until the end of the decade.

But when more enterprises are ready to make that transition to a more advanced suite of services underpinned by 5G SA, Vodafone could well be in a strong position to capitalise.

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About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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