Proximus to deploy private 5G network at Belgium’s Port of Antwerp
Belgian mobile operator Proximus and the port of Antwerp have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a digital transformation project.
As part of the initiative, Proximus will develop a private 5G network that can be a driving factor for innovation and digital transformation in the Antwerp port. During a six-month pilot phase, several concrete applications will be tested, Proximus said.
Under the project, Proximus will use a test license to deploy a mobile network that will be set up specifically for the port of Antwerp. On this network, both partners will test and evaluate the potential of 5G for different industrial applications.
For example, tugboats can be connected with each other and with the port to enable a more efficient coordination of shipping. Proximus also noted that the implementation of a private 5G network will also provide significant gains in efficiency, for example through wireless camera surveillance or the deployment of drones for security applications or inspections. In the future, self-propelled vehicles in the port area or AR/VR applications for remote training and coaching may be added to that.
The port of Antwerp will focus on the concrete development of use cases that can be tested on the 5G network, where Proximus will provide support and consultancy.
Proximus and the port of Antwerp will use a non-standalone architecture that fully meets the 3GPP standards in the core of the network. In addition, the 5G network will be connected to the existing MPLS corporate network of the port of Antwerp and will thus become an important enabler for the port authority’s digital transformation.
After the activation of the 5G network in the port of Antwerp’s ICT infrastructure, the various applications will be tested for six months in a limited zone inside the port area. At the end of this pilot phase, an initial evaluation will be made. The ultimate aim of Proximus is to explore the possibilities of 5G connectivity in the entire port area and to combine the port of Antwerp’s private network with the public mobile network, which provides coverage throughout Belgium. To develop this project, Proximus is using network equipment provided by Nokia.
“This goes further than merely testing the technology, since we are developing concrete applications in consultation with an important industrial player like Port of Antwerp. The success of 5G in a B2B environment will hinge on understanding the needs of the customer and jointly developing valuable use cases, not just deploying new network technology,” said Bart Van Den Meersche, Chief Enterprise Market Officer at Proximus.
“The port of Antwerp is particularly rich in potential applications for 5G. That’s why we want to prepare for the advent and roll-out of 5G in the port area. Because we’re aware that there’s still a lot to be learnt. Moreover, the partnership with Proximus will allow us to ascertain whether our own fiber network can be a lever for an accelerated deployment,” said Erwin Verstraelen, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer at the port of Antwerp.