UK telco group BT has signed a new deal with Finnish kit vendor Ericsson which will provide it with new private 5G network services for factories, warehouses, retail and others industry customers.

The multi-million pound, multi-year deal will arm BT with new private 5G offerings designed for manufacturing, defence, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics customers. The partnership is pitched as ‘combining BT’s expertise in building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading 5G network technology and enterprise solutions.’

The usual industry 4.0 treats are promised including asset tracking, predictive maintenance, connected sensors, real-time data processing, automation and robotics. The exact deployment will depend on the setting, but what’s primarily being pitched is the private 5G network which enables all this with low latency connectivity – or as BT puts it, the creation of ‘hyper-connected spaces’.


BT and Ericsson have collaborated previously on such projects. They recently installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland, which is apparently helping to optimise processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping functions.

“This UK-first we have signed with Ericsson is a huge milestone and will play a major role in enabling businesses’ transformation, ushering in a new era of hyper-connected spaces,” said Marc Overton, BT’s MD for Division X, Enterprise. “We have combined our skill and expertise at building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading, sustainable and secure 5G network equipment, to offer a pioneering new proposition that will be attractive to many industries.

“5G private networks will also support smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0 which can realise significant cost savings and efficiencies for manufacturers. Unlike a public network, a private 5G network can be configured to a specific business’s needs, as well as by individual site or location. They also provide the foundation to overlay other innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, VR and AR, opening up a multitude of possibilities.”


Katherine Ainley, CEO Ericsson UK & Ireland added: “This ground-breaking agreement with BT means we are together taking a leading role in ensuring 5G has a transformative impact for the UK. The high quality, fast and secure connectivity provided by Ericsson Private 5G can help organisations make all-important efficiency gains that can create safer, more productive, and sustainable business operations and help the country build global leaders in the industries and technologies of the future.”

BT recently unveiled its new ‘charter’ for business customers, which is a grand way of saying announced a series of intentions regarding research investment and commitments to roll out new services in the future. As part of this charter, the firm pledged to invest almost £100 million over the next three years in its ‘Division X’ unit, which will apparently go towards developing new services for enterprise customers based on all the cutting edge tech areas –  5G, IoT, edge computing, cloud and AI. This deal with Ericsson can be presumably be seen as part of this push.



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