Virgin Media O2 Business Introduces Portable 5G Standalone Private Network

Virgin Media O2 Business has achieved a significant milestone in the telecommunications industry by becoming the first UK telecoms to offer a portable commercial 5G Standalone (SA) Private Network (PN). This breakthrough technology allows businesses to access 5G connectivity instantly, without the need to build an entire network infrastructure, cutting down on time and expenses.
Virgin Media and O2The portable private network is small in size, slightly larger than a carry-on airline bag. Unlike traditional networks that require specialized telecoms engineers to set up and activate, this product can be easily used and activated by businesses of all sizes. It empowers a wide range of organizations, from tech start-ups to large enterprises, to swiftly access secure 5G connectivity tailored to their specific needs.

The journey towards this milestone began with successful trials of the portable solution, which led to the development and deployment of two 5G SA PN platforms. Wayra, Telefonica’s innovation arm, was the first to experience the product’s capabilities during a trial last summer, enabling customers and small businesses to get hands-on experience with 5G SA applications.

One such beneficiary is Mobilus Labs, a start-up based in Wayra’s London office. Mobilus Labs utilizes advanced voice technology to facilitate communication in high-noise environments, such as construction, manufacturing, and healthcare sites. For their mission-critical applications, they require fast internet speeds and secure connections, both of which can be efficiently provided by private 5G networks. The trials have already demonstrated several benefits, including high reliability, enhanced data security, and ultra-low latency.

Virgin Media O2 Business has integrated Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) and Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) into their private wireless offering, making them the first UK telco to adopt MXIE. This integration allows businesses like Mobilus Labs to support mission-critical applications by processing data at the source in real-time, eliminating the need to communicate back to a public cloud application. This enhancement streamlines mission-critical networking and paves the way for digital transformation across various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and healthcare.

As the portable 5G SA PN product continues to be utilized for demonstrations, businesses can explore various use cases for Industry 4.0 robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence. The product’s compact nature also facilitates 5G connectivity in rural areas or places with limited access to public networks, opening up possibilities for businesses of all sizes and locations.

Tony Blackburn, Chief Technology Officer at Mobilus Labs, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of this solution in enabling super-fast Internet connectivity across industrial sites and supporting their mobiTALK Push-To-Talk smartphone application.

Jo Bertram, Managing Director at Virgin Media O2 Business, emphasized that their latest network solution removes barriers, such as location and cost, enabling businesses to access the connectivity they need for innovation and customer experiences.

Phil Siveter, CEO at Nokia UK&I, praised the robustness and security of their private wireless network solutions and highlighted their commitment to supporting enterprise adoption of OT (Operational Technology) transformation.

Bruno Moraes, Managing Director at Wayra UK, stressed the importance of reliable, fast, and precise connectivity, particularly in challenging environments like hospitals and construction sites. He sees the plug-and-play private network as a game-changer, unlocking reliable and low-cost connectivity for businesses in need.

With this groundbreaking development, Virgin Media O2 Business is spearheading innovation in the telecommunications industry and empowering businesses across the UK with the cutting-edge 5G Standalone Private Network technology.