Anterix signs Nokia, Motorola Solutions to ‘accelerate’ private LTE with US utilities
Private networking firm Anterix, holder of the largest share of 900 MHz spectrum in the US, has signed twin deals with Nokia and Motorola Solutions to combine its ‘beach-front’ spectrum with their different private LTE radio and core networking offerings for US utilities.
It said the deals will accelerate the deployment of 900 MHz private LTE across the US utility sector. Anterix holds 900 MHz spectrum in the mainland US, as well as in Hawaii and Alaska, and also in Puerto Rico. Its goal is to license 900 MHz spectrum and supply 900 MHz solutions to the utility sector to drive grid modernisation.
It is offering both Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) platform and Modular Private Wireless (MPW) solution, its compact plug-and-play private LTE offer and large-scale indoor/outdoor product, respectively. Both products can be upgraded to 5G, including to support ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) with the latest Release 16 and 17 versions of the 5G standard.
The arrangement with Motorola Solutions is for the US firm’s Private Broadband for Critical Infrastructure solution, incorporating land mobile radio (LMR) and LTE networks; the LTE element works in 900 MHz and 3.55-3.7 GHz CBRS spectrum, and is geared for utilities, oil, gas, and other enterprises with stretching performance demands and congested or remote campuses. Its 900 MHz LTE infrastructure includes the LXN 7900 radio access network and core, which can be hosted on-premise or in the cloud, like the Nokia products.
Both Nokia and Motorola Solutions are charter members of the recently established Anterix Active Ecosystem Program of “tech innovators” looking to sell with Anterix into the utilities sector. Other charter members include 4RF, General Electric, Q-Net Security, Qualcomm, Telit, and u-blox.
In May, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved usage of the 900 MHz band in the US for private LTE and 5G networking by energy companies, in response to a long-standing request by Anterix to open the 900 MHz band for private cellular.
US electricity and gas utility Ameren Corporation announced in January it will deploy a private LTE network in the 900 MHz band for customers in Missouri and Illinois, under the first licence granted in the spectrum band by Anterix. The spectrum lease agreement with Ameren, which claims 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area in Missouri and Illinois, was announced before Christmas; it covers Ameren for a period of 30 years.
Last yar, Anterix worked with Nokia on a range of pilot projects with utilities, including with the New York Power Authority. In January, Anterix and Motorola Solutions announced they would be assisting Xcel Energy in the evaluation of a private LTE solution to deliver greater grid intelligence, control and security. The network is being developed by Motorola Solutions using Anterix’s 900 MHz spectrum and will be installed at two Xcel Energy sites in Minneapolis.
A statement from Anterix said: “As utilities incorporate new distributed renewable energy resources and storage into their grid, they are expected to require an advanced communications infrastructure to support that evolution. To process the vast amounts of data that come from monitoring and managing the multi-directional and intermittent flow of electricity, utilities will require a robust and technologically powerful communications platform that is private, secure, resilient and designed to meet their needs.”
Ryan Gerbrandt, chief operating officer at Anterix, commented: “Utilities who oversee critical infrastructure systems must insist on maintaining network control if they’re going to manage the delivery of services effectively and efficiently. Our low-band, licensed spectrum can provide utilities with the capabilities they need to build their own 900 MHz private LTE networks… to deliver the advanced capabilities needed as well as the control necessary as they evolve to a more advanced grid.”
Matt Young, head of Nokia’s enterprise business in North America, said: “Private LTE is the locomotive that’s going to help carry the electric utility industry into the 21st century. This collaboration will allow Nokia and Anterix to further expand the benefits of purpose-built, private wireless networks to utilities nationwide. Together, we will help them obtain the high-performance, low-latency connectivity they need for digitalization and automation of their grid operations to improve efficiency and realize carbon emission goals, while transforming their business models.”
Scott Schoepel, vice president of global enterprise at Motorola Solutions, said: “Today’s utilities need secure, high-power and interoperable communications to address their end-to-end needs across voice, data and video. We are excited to leverage our long history in the delivery of mission-critical private networks and recent collaboration with Anterix to support robust innovation and continued grid modernization.”