Home5GAnterix adds Ericsson to roster of private LTE kit vendors for US smart grid push

Anterix adds Ericsson to roster of private LTE kit vendors for US smart grid push

Anterix has followed deals with Motorola and Nokia with a third contract for LTE equipment for private network deployments in the utilities sector, this time with Swedish vendor Ericsson. The New Jersey based firm holds 900 MHz spectrum in the mainland US, as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Its goal is to license 900 MHz spectrum and supply 900 MHz solutions to the utility sector to drive grid modernisation.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently certified Ericsson’s Radio 2212 solution, a lightweight LTE macro radio unit, upgradeable to 5G, for use in the 900 MHz band. Ericsson said the utilities sector is a key focus for its developing private cellular offer.

The firm is also deploying LTE networks using the old CBRS band, from 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz. It cited contracts with both investor owned utilities (IOUs) and rural municipal utilities across North America, including with Southern Company, Consolidated Edison Company, and Newport Utilities.

Ryan Gerbrandt, chief operating officer at Anterix, said: “The modernization of critical infrastructure will be key as utilities look to digitize operations to address a new distributed energy reality, while staying ahead of cyberthreats and other potential disruptions. Private networks utilizing 900MHz and empowered by leading technology companies like Ericsson, can provide utilities with the tools to help them achieve these goals.”

Koustuv Ghoshal, vice president and head of utilities, energy and industrials at Ericsson in North America, said: “We see private cellular networks as the principal catalyst for utilities in their digital transformation journey to address a multitude of use cases, both now and in the future. [They] provide an opportunity to not only own and operate an asset that conforms to global 3GPP standards and universally benefits all business segments within utilities, but also addresses mission-critical needs of safety, security, resilience and flexibility.”

In May last year, the 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.

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