For several years, the global enterprise mobility market was static, with many of the same solutions rolled out by operators regardless of region.
This began to change in 2022. In 2023 the market was further energized by network and security enhancements.
US and European operators made many enterprise mobility announcements in 2023 highlighting momentum for 5G networks and services, 5G SA roll-outs, cellular technology and performance enhancements, and traction for new services such as FWA and private networks. Satellite connectivity, roaming advancements, UC integration and solution partnerships were also on display.
US enterprise mobility operator announcements
AT&T will lease some low-band spectrum to AST SpaceMobile to bolster integration of satellite-based connectivity to remote and edge locations. AT&T and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport will boost connectivity and critical infrastructure including a private 5G network for DFW to meet the rising demand for IoT uses cases. AT&T and Ericsson are deploying Ericsson 5G Open Radio Access Networks products to support AT&T’s nationwide Open RAN strategy. AT&T and Cisco launched a new version of Webex Go with which corporate AT&T phone plans can be integrated with Webex Calling plans, providing Webex users a single identity based on their AT&T mobile numbers. AT&T, Dell, and VMware created a MEC including private 5G, called AT&T MEC with Dell Apex.
Verizon Business and Zebra Technologies announced Zebra’s rugged mobile device and software packaged solutions for Verizon Private 5G customers in transportation, logistics, retail, and manufacturing. Norfolk International Terminal deployed a Verizon Private 5G Network at its Virginia facility. Following upgrades in three stadiums, Verizon launched mmWave 5G ‘Ultra-Wideband’ in all 30 National Football League stadiums. Verizon launched Mobile Onsite Network-as-a-Service which integrates private network, private MEC, SD-WAN, 4G, 5G SA, and satellite connectivity. Verizon Business signed deals with Telenor and Bell Canada for its global IoT eSIM platform, combining the operators’ network assets and managed IoT capabilities to provide seamless access without roaming charges. Verizon announced ‘Connected Car by Verizon’ for BMW models in the US, including voice, data, and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. AI software provider Kognition partnered with Verizon Business as part of its 5G Edge Partner Program to transform workplace security by leveraging AI, 5G, and AWS back-end support. Verizon revealed an Edge Discovery & QoS API PoC with AWS, combining Dynamic QoS from Verizon with AWS edge services for low latency, high bandwidth applications.
T-Mobile, Ericsson, and Qualcomm aggregated eight channels of mmWave spectrum to reach download speeds over 4.3 Gbps. T-Mobile tested 5G mmWave on 5G SA for stadiums and FWA services. T-Mobile US and Deutsche Telekom tested 5G SA roaming with interconnection to AIS Thailand. T-Mobile’s network slicing beta was provided to U.S developers using a customized video calling network slice on T-Mobile’s 5G SA network. T-Mobile launched T-Mobile Secure Access Service Edge, with capabilities for businesses and government organizations. T-Mobile Ventures launched investment fund for companies building products in AI, connected home, and edge computing. T-Mobile enabled a beyond-visual-line-of-sight flight by a 5G-enabled drone with potential for inspection programs, agriculture, and disaster relief. T-Mobile admitted startups into an accelerator to advance 5G innovation in sports. SpaceX tested Starlink satellite-to-cell service with T-Mobile to cover black spots or dead zones. T-Mobile for Business will use Cisco 5G cellular gateways for FWA based on Cisco Meraki cloud-based solutions.
European enterprise mobility operator announcements
BT Group, Nokia, and MediaTek completed trials of RedCap technology and devices to support 5G use cases. BT launched a Drone SIM for beyond visual line of sight drone operations for BT business customers. BT launched 5G Immersive Spaces for business and public sector organizations in Northern Ireland. BT invested to bring 4G/5G mobile edge compute services to UK business customers in partnership with AWS. BT switched on its IoT National Roaming SIMs for businesses for roaming across the UK. BT Group and Stratospheric Platforms tested mobile coverage using a new antenna technology, mounted on a High-Altitude Platform Station to provide coverage to hard-to-reach areas.
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Telefónica and Ericsson signed an MoU for an open mobile network using Ericsson’s Cloud RAN architecture. They are also exploring Cloud RAN to enhance radio access network solutions. Telefónica became an authorized worldwide partner of SpaceX’s Starlink and will be integrating Starlink’s enterprise solutions into its global portfolio. With Google Cloud and Ericsson, Telefónica O2 began moving its 5G core network in Germany to the cloud for faster deployments and updates, and new solutions for business customers.
Vodafone and Three agreed to combine their businesses in the UK, creating a credible competitor to VM-O2 and BT-EE. Vodafone announced a partnership with Lenovo Connect for a customized global IoT connectivity service to integrate with Lenovo Connect solutions, enabling secure internet connectivity for Lenovo devices. Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, and Telefónica announced plans to jointly work on Open RAN technology challenges.
Deutsche Telekom partnered with AWS as part of an Integrated Private Wireless on AWS program, which brings together AWS services with private wireless solutions based on 5G and LTE from DT. Telekom introduced a less expensive, simpler private 5G network offer for SMEs using Microsoft’s MEC bundle. Deutsche Telekom completed the majority stake sale of its transmission tower business in Germany and Austria to investment firms DigitalBridge and Brookfield but will retain 49% of the shares.
Orange announced results of tests on its cloud-native 5G SA experimental multi-cloud network, Pikeo. They state that 5G networks can be redeployed in less than an hour, automated anomaly detection for mobile networks is faster, energy consumption can be optimised, and dynamic end-to-end slicing can be used for critical communication services and offered with a zero-trust security model. Steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal France and Orange Business announced the operational launch of 5G Steel, a very large 4G/5G industrial network.