Nokia joins with Hitachi, Globalstar to push private LTE and 5G in Japan and Africa
Nokia is working with Hitachi Kokusai Electric in Japan to deploy private LTE and 5G networks for industrial and government customers in Japan. It has struck a parallel deal in Africa with mobile satellite provider Globalstar to enable enterprises to deploy mobile-based applications in a dedicated spectrum band.
In Japan, the government is set to release dedicated 5G spectrum, known in Japan as ‘local 5G’, at the end of the year (2019). Enterprises, local government authorities, and other organizations will be able to use the spectrum to deploy their own private LTE and 5G networks. Japan’s unlicensed sXGP (Shared Extended Global Platform), in 1.9 GHz, has seen initial private networking deployments in corporate campuses, golf courses, race tracks, stadiums, airports, and warehouses.
Japan — along with the likes of Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden, and the United Kingdom — are moving forward to allocate spectrum for private LTE and 5G networks in the 3.7 GHz, 26 GHz and 28 GHz frequency bands.
Nokia is providing its so-called ‘digital automation cloud’ platform into the mix, establishing the networking components for IoT sensors, video analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), as well as for drones and group communication.
Hitachi Kokusai Electric, which makes mobile phones and computing gear, will provide an “ecosystem of solutions” to support the deployment of new digital automation services, and “share its expertise as a leader in… private LTE networks for industry use and disaster prevention in Japan,” according to a press note.
The pair said private networking will also enable autonomous trucks, trains, forklifts, and straddle carriers to increase productivity at factories, utilities, airports, and ports.
Kaichiro Sakuma, president and chief executive at Hitachi Kokusai Electric, said: “Industrial grade private wireless networks will be very important for our industry customers, helping them to become more efficient, automating dangerous operations, and improving worker safety. Our collaboration with Nokia is helping to speed the delivery of these capabilities to the Japanese market.”
John Harrington, head of Nokia in Japan, said: “Collaborating with partners with in-depth knowledge and expertise across industry segments is critical to the adoption of digital automation and private wireless solutions in industrial settings.”
Meanwhile, Nokia’s deal with Globalstar is also around Nokia’s ‘digital automation cloud’, together with Globalstar’s 3GPP Band 53 spectrum, which the pair have pushed through standardization in 3GPP.
Globalstar owns spectrum at 2483.5-2495 MHz.It has so far secured rights to Band 53 for terrestrial private LTE deployments from authorities in South Africa, Mozambique, Gabon, Botswana, and Rwanda. It is seeking approval from governments and regulators in other markets to provide terrestrial LTE services in the band across the globe.
The partnership, essentially a reseller deal for Nokia to offer satellite connectivity in the band in out-of-reach locales in Africa, allows both to introduce digital-change solutions in Africa multiple industries, they said. Globalstar’s ‘mobile satellite services’ (MSS) provide connectivity when devices go outside of Nokia’s own coverage, as defined by its own roaming deals.
Nokia is already offering Band 53 access points and end user devices such as modems, ruggedized handsets, and tablets. It will be able to better serve digital-change efforts in the mining, oil, gas, and energy sectors, it said.
Barbee Ponder, general counsel and vice president of regulatory affairs at Globalstar, said: “In Africa alone, our terrestrial authorizations span more than 1.1 million square miles of territory, covering a population larger than 100 million people. We have obtained terrestrial LTE authority over our entire 16.5 MHz of S-band spectrum with permissible power limits for both macro and small cell deployments.”
Shkumbin Hamiti, head of ecosystem and partnerships for Nokia’s digital automation division, commented: “We are delighted to collaborate with Globalstar in order to support the digitalization of business in Africa, helping them connect more things than ever before, such as sensors, cameras, drones, tablets, and phones, and apply real-time analytics to their data.”
The twin announcements are part of a flurry of activity from the Finnish vendor around its deals for private networks. Last week, it announced the conclusion of drone trials with private LTE, also in Japan. More announcements are expected this week.
Nokia claims to have deployed over 1,000 ‘mission-critical networks’ with customers in the transport, energy, manufacturing, and public sector segments around the globe.