BT gets on Wavelength to bring 5G, cloud to mobile businesses

Long-term, multi-million-pound investment gives leading UK telco’s business customers access to edge computing services, combining EE mobile network’s 5G and 4G network infrastructure with cloud services from Amazon Web Services

One of the basic dynamics of business today, and in the future, is fast, secure data processing closer to where companies need it most, made possible through cloud edge services running on 5G and 4G networks. Aiming to exploit these possibilities, BT has announced a partnership with AWS to open up a new generation of internet of things (IoT) benefits for customers and their communities.

The effort is part of BT’s investment in its existing mobile networks to enable 5G-connected infrastructure as a service via AWS Wavelength.

The work combines AWS’s cloud expertise with BT’s EE 5G and 4G infrastructure. The national mobile network with AWS Wavelength is designed to bring AWS to the network edge for more business and public sector customers across the UK.

AWS Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services in 5G and 4G networks, providing mobile edge computing infrastructure for ultra-low-latency applications.

Hosting services directly at the edge of EE’s UK network is said to be able to reduce lag, as application traffic can reach application servers running in the AWS Wavelength Zone without leaving BT’s network. This opens up mobile edge computing infrastructure for businesses to develop, deploy and scale mobile IoT applications over BT’s existing 5G network securely.

The collaboration aims to enable high-speed, latency-sensitive and intensive 5G connectivity for BT customers looking to benefit from high-bandwidth IoT use cases in the field. This includes autonomous vehicles, cameras for policing and other public services to help protect communities, live media production for outside broadcast, smart industrial robots and use in community healthcare.

For example, the technology could support wearable cameras for paramedics and ambulance staff to assist patients and help remote clinicians decide on best-care pathways; cameras for police to provide instant replay and higher-grade footage; or “frictionless retail”, where shoppers can enter a store, pick up their products and walk out without the need to scan or queue.

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The first step of the partnership will see the firms switching on a new AWS Wavelength Zone in Manchester, which will let eligible businesses and public sector organisations within a 100-kilometre radius – including cities such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Blackpool – have access to edge computing services. BT’s ambition is to roll out AWS Wavelength to business customers across the UK more broadly in the coming years.

“As we continue to build best-in-class 5G infrastructure for the UK, launching the AWS Wavelength service for our business and wholesale customers is a hugely important step on our journey – bringing the power of the cloud to the [EE network],” said BT Wholesale managing director Alex Tempest.

“It’s set to unlock use cases like IoT cameras to help first responders keep communities safe: a real-life example of using tech to connect for good. By building cloud edge services into our 5G and 4G EE network, we can accelerate innovation across industries, and bring fast, secure data processing closer to where our customers need it most. Ultimately, we want to give businesses and public sector organisations all the power of edge computing, wherever they are.”

In February 2023, BT launched an IoT national roaming network offering a dedicated connectivity framework for businesses across the UK, allowing them to keep smart devices connected wherever they are, using both its own EE network and those of other comms providers.

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