Home5GNokia and Ukkoverkot tie-up another private LTE deal with another Finnish port

Nokia and Ukkoverkot tie-up another private LTE deal with another Finnish port

Finnish network vendor Nokia and Finnish private LTE provider Ukkoverkot have signed a four-year deal to bring connectivity, automation, and intelligence to the Port of Kokkola, also in Finland.

The Port of Kokkola is the third largest ‘general’ port in Finland. It is also the third Finnish port to appoint Nokia and Ukkoverkot to deploy a private LTE networking solution on site, after deals last month with the Port of Oulu late last year with the Port of HaminaKotka.

The private LTE network will utilise the local 2.6 GHz radio band, allocated to the port by Ukkoverkot as part of the deal. Ukkoverkot retains both 450 MHz and 2.6 GHz holdings for industrial and public safety networks. The Kokkola network will make use of Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud.

The port will assume the role of a micro-operator offering private wireless network connectivity to local companies within the port, as well as for running its own port operations.Ports make varying demands in terms of security, device service and control systems, rescue and other vehicles, and steering of port functions.

The new network will be tailored for capacity, usability and coverage, said Nokia. The project will extend to cover edge computing, automation, and artificial intelligence.

Nokia said its port set-up will enable the operator to “leverage large pools of industrial IoT data” for more intelligent and efficient operations. Stephan Litjens, general manager for digital automation at Nokia, commented: “The port infrastructure is a demanding environment, in which multiple actors require reliable, high capacity connectivity.”

Jouko Tuppurainen, director, Ukkoverkot, said: “One benefit of this platform is the opportunity for our customer to become a micro-operator as it scales according to its digitalisation strategy. This collaboration is a natural next step in our focus on logistics and industrial companies’ digitalisation projects, and it strengthens our leading position as a provider of private LTE networks.”

Jyrki Roukala, development manager at the Port of Kokkola, commented: “It’s challenging to create data transfer channels in the vast, 500 hectare port area. At first we considered using Wi-Fi, but an LTE network is superior thanks to its security, reliability and pervasive coverage. At the same time, we can commercialize our network by offering slices to other actors in the area.”

Ukkoverkot was founded in 2014 to build private networks for land, sea and air ports. Its customers include crane manufacturer Konecranes, airport operator Finavia, port operator Steveco, and telecoms company Erillisverkot, as well as the Finnish Defense Forces and Finnish border guard.

Nokia has calculated no fewer than 14.58 million potential venues for private LTE, and later private 5G – “where it could have an impact on the automation level, and hence an economic impact,” according to Litjens. Among this number, it has identified 50,000 transport hubs, including air ports, sea ports, and train ‘ports’.

But the biggest market for private networking is the industrial and manufacturing space, home to 10.7 million candidate sites, reckons Nokia. Nokia told Enterprise IoT Insights industrial companies will invest in their own private LTE and 5G networks because the business case for digital change is irresistible.

Private LTE networks and public 5G slices will coexist in the industrial space, it said, with operators of mines, factories and ports architecting hybrid networks to serve a range of use cases, and to retain tight control of critical operations as required.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen said last week it will start construction of its own 5G mobile networks in 122 factories in Germany in 2020. Volkswagen, the largest automaker by worldwide sales, has issued a tender to network equipment vendors. Nokia and Ericsson are expected to be in the running.

German carmakers Daimler and BMW are keen on 5G frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum, which is to be liberated for use by German enterprises by BNetzA, the German regulatory office for telecoms, and certain pther communications-related sectors.

Siemens and Bosch have already installed 5G test networks in selected plants, running in test spectrum from BNetzA, which will be relinquished and switched over when the 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum is made available. Airbus and BASF are also seeking greater autonomy over in-factory cellular networks.

At the same time, many tier-one operators are investing to address these industrial markets on their own terms. Vodafone has said it will use a range of public and private networking options to serve industrial verticals. These include spot usage of unlicensed LTE, localised usage of public LTE, and dedicated slices of its public 5G networks.

Deutsche Telekom told Enterprise IoT Insights at the event that only 20-30 enterprises in Germany will, in the end, seek to run their own network operations. “Large enterprises like BMW and Siemens might be ready to run their own networks, perhaps,” said Herbert Schüttler, vice president of 5G corporate customers at Deutsche Telekom.

“But there are lots of mid-sized manufacturers that don’t want anything to do with the running of mobile networks. In Germany, there might be 20, maybe 30, companies that will manage networks on their own. None of the others want to do it.”

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