Finland issues first private LTE/5G licence, urges industry to pile in
Finland has issued its first private cellular licence for industrial LTE and 5G at 2.3 GHz. State-owned energy company Fortum Power and Heat will use the licence at its power plant in Loviisa, on the country’s southern coast. Local transport and communications agency Traficom has promised more licences will follow, and urged the industrial sector to apply.
Traficom has granted the firm a 20MHz chunk of local airwaves at 2300–2320 MHz at the site, about 90 kilometres up the coast from Helsinki. It is the first time the Finnish government has released spectrum directly to enterprises outside of the licensed mobile operators, plus, notably, local enterprise networking specialist Edzecom.
Edzecom, formerly Ukkoverkot, has pioneered private LTE in the country by sub-licensing spectrum at various frequencies for ports and factories, often with country-mate Nokia. It holds spectrum at 450 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.5 GHz in Finland, and claims to have supplied airtime for at least 26 operational private LTE networks in the Nordic region. Danish engineering firm Danfoss has just announced a private LTE pilot at its factory in Vaasa, in northern Finland, with spectrum from Edzecom.
Fortum Power and Heat, which runs power plants throughout the region, as well as in the Balic countries, and in Poland, Russia and India. is the first industrial firm in Finland to hold its own licence, and the first time the local 2.3 GHz band has been made available for private cellular.
Traficom described the move as “historic” for the country’s industrial policy, and urged fellow industrialists to apply for the same. It called it a response to “the changing needs of digital society”, and stated: “These mobile user networks, which are implemented with mobile technology, are intended to be used locally, for example, in factories, ports, airports, power plants and mines for their own operations.”
Kirsi Karlamaa, president and chief executive at Traficom, said: “High-quality communications networks are a platform for new services, applications and innovations. It is great that Fortum Power and Heat has boldly decided to build its own private mobile network to support and increase its operations. I hope this will set an example and create opportunities for other businesses as well.”
Tomas Nystrom, IT manager at the Loviisa power plant, said: “For many years at the Loviisa power plant, we have developed a variety of digitalisation solutions for power plant productivity and safety. Private mobile network and mobile data [will] allow for future digitalization of recovery and the development of better throughout the plant site.”
Edzecom, which has laid the groundwork for private LTE and 5G in Europe, and not just in Finland, has contracts with port equipment suppliers Konecranes, Sandvik, Finavia, and Steveco, the Finnish ports of Oulu, Kokkola, and HaminaKotka, Finnish state rail company VR Group, and the Finnish Defense Forces. It claims more private networking contracts in the Nordic region than any other company.