Vodafone has announced its new Mobile Private Network (MPN) offering, becoming the first telecoms operator in the UK to standardise a 5G Standalone MPN product and its approach to deliver across the lifecycle of the solution.
MPNs allow businesses and organisations to customise network performance and characteristics to suit their own connectivity needs. This has great potential to accelerate digitisation and act as a catalyst for economic growth across the UK.
By installing dedicated equipment on-site, the customer can tailor the connectivity experience as only its own devices and applications can connect to the network. MPNs remove risk of network congestion, while network functionality can be customised to use case requirements and security is enhanced as data never needs to leave the customer premises.
MPNs can offer significant benefits across several industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, transport and logistics. MPNs are set up to enable use cases such as asset tracking, drone detection, machine-to-machine connectivity, condition monitoring, augmented and virtual reality and many more.
Most importantly, an MPN allows the creation of services with specialist requirements that would not be possible on the public network.
Nick Gliddon, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said: “Mobile Private Networks are an opportunity for our business customers to accelerate innovation at an unprecedented scale. By installing a private and customisable network, Vodafone can support innovation by cultivating new use cases in an environment which brings the best opportunity.
“That could be delivering on low-latency requirements, enhanced security or enabling massive IoT models. Whatever the use case, Vodafone can deliver a tailored experience to act as a catalyst for innovation.”
Vodafone has already deployed several MPNs across the UK, including:
- Horiba Mira’s test track in Nuneaton, Warwickshire: A secure 5G Non-standalone-enabled MPN that covers two autonomous vehicles testing tracks, with five outdoor masts and on-site MEC.
- Ford’s E:PRIME factory in Dunton, Essex: a 5G network to power autonomous operations and ensure real-time analysis by using AI software to visually inspect automated production lines for electronic vehicle motors and batteries. This deployment has won multiple industry awards including 5G Week and the GLOTEL awards.
- Scotland 5G Centre’s innovation hubs in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire: The two 5G MPN sites act as testbeds to develop advanced use cases for segments that include energy and smart cities.
- The Smart Sound Connect in Plymouth, Devon: the worlds’ first marine-focused 5G testbed, powered by a 5G non-standalone MPN to deliver use cases such as driverless boats, connected buoys, clean propulsion, smart ports and shipping, as well as environmental monitoring.
- Centrica’s natural gas plant in Easington, Yorkshire: a 4G MPN to enable real-time indoor and outdoor monitoring of the plant and its equipment, improving maintenance and safety. Workers will be alerted to any gas emissions, for example, and receive early warnings of any equipment on the point of failure.
Vodafone’s MPN offering includes:
- Indoor and outdoor Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure (the mobile sites that connect devices to the network) for private connectivity. 5G non-standalone and 5G standalone connectivity, depending on use case requirements.
- On-site network core infrastructure or access to Vodafone’s core network, including ability to integrate and utilise Vodafone’s Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) solutions.
- If required, MPN can also be connected to Vodafone’s wider public network.
- Management platform to visualise data across the network and connected applications, optimise and reconfigure network operations and parameters, provision new services and automate functions, applications and operations.
- Enhanced cyber security, with customer sites being managed by the same cyber security team that protects Vodafone’s wider network operations.
- On-going managed services, including 24/7 helpdesk, data insight and analysis, real-time monitoring and early warning intelligence as well upgrades and maintenance advice and support.
- Support to develop use cases and integrate enabling technologies, such as cloud services and Internet of Things solutions.
To develop the services and applications that would make use of private connectivity, Vodafone has also curated several partner ecosystems. These partners include software developers and industry specialists who work alongside Vodafone to co-create industry-specific solutions.