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AT&T taps Nokia to drive CBRS-enabled Industry 4.0 private networks

US comms giant aims to accelerate its ambitions to support advanced communications in manufacturing and industry

US communications giant AT&T has added Nokia’s end-to-end industrial-grade capabilities to its AT&T Private Cellular Networks.

Private networks are increasingly important for businesses – especially in Industry 4.0 environments with diverse amounts of connected devices, where privacy, data control and performance are all crucial.

AT&T Private Cellular Networks are designed to provide a new option in private networking with a localised wireless LTE core (5G coming soon) and access network for control, flexibility and data management for business needs.

AT&T’s on-premise edge portfolio, which already includes 5G-capable AT&T multi-access edge computing, is now expanding to offer these additional private cellular systems with Nokia in order to, it said, meet those Industry 4.0 needs.

Nokia has just embarked on a major enhancement of its 5G assets and general offer, with new added-value features and digital automation enablers for its Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) private wireless networking platform. With the new functionality and added-value features, Nokia says it is further easing and accelerating customers’ transformation path towards Industry 4.0.

Nokia DAC team comms and DAC VoIP offer customers voice and video for secure one-to-one and one-to-many campus-wide communication, it says. Delivered over the platform’s scalable edge cloud, the on-premise applications are seen as ideal for asset-intensive locations of all sizes, such as ports, mines and factories.

“There is reason to believe that the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ will remake industries and the economics of production,” said Grant Lenahan, partner and principal analyst for Appledore Research. “Considering the majority of industrial site deployments will be based on private wireless, it is prudent for communication service providers like AT&T to leverage Nokia’s proven private wireless solutions and vertical experience in the near future.”

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Nokia said that with this latest deal, businesses across the US can now build private networks through AT&T using Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum and Nokia infrastructure. AT&T will offer Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and Modular Private Wireless platforms.

AT&T regards the move as a great solution for enterprise customers – including manufacturing, logistics, energy and education – that want to use CBRS LTE private wireless technology as part of their networking strategy. It can help enterprises build a more agile business that keeps pace with shifting demand, accelerates digital transformation and unlock new internet of things (IoT) opportunities with reliable and predictable connectivity for people, machines and sensors, it said.

“AT&T is all about connections,” said Robert Boyanovsky, AT&T vice-president of mobility and IoT. “Businesses have evolved as much as mobile networks have – and we will continue to work with companies like Nokia to deliver the reliable networking solutions and capabilities that our enterprise customers need.”

Raghav Sahgal, president of Nokia Enterprise, added: “We have a long relationship with AT&T, and now we’re tapping into our joint enterprise expertise to help businesses realise the Industry 4.0 opportunity. Nokia is a leader in private wireless deployments, giving us tremendous insights into the challenges and requirements for deploying this technology across multiple industries.”

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