Verizon, Nokia & Microsoft join forces to offer private 5G network to businesses

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The US-based telecom company Verizon has entered into agreements with Microsoft, the US tech company and the Finnish IT and telecom company Nokia to boost its ability to reach business customers by offering them private 5G networks.

Private 5G networks reduce the need for companies to scramble with others on a public network for speed and help allow data-intensive applications that improve productivity using computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning. It can provide businesses the ability to automate factory floors, minimize costs and speed up data traffic.

Ice Mobility, the US-based logistics firm, is the first client for the new partnership between Verizon and Microsoft, enabling it to monitor employees packaging the goods in the correct boxes to eliminate the step of quality control. Quality control is a system of maintaining standards in manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against the specification.

Azure, the cloud computing company of Microsoft, will run on top of the 5G network of Verizon to process machine-generated data at the local facility and to use artificial intelligence to simplify operations.

“This is about creating a new business opportunity for everyone,” Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi said. But the way in which the revenue would be shared between Verizon and Microsoft was not disclosed.

While 4G has helped to build multi-billion dollar businesses ranging from music and video streaming to cab hailing and food delivery, telecom operators have rarely earned a share of that growth.

Verizon is now willing to take a stake in new companies that 5G will enable, either by partnering with larger businesses or by buying stakes in smaller ones.

Partnership with Nokia

It is also partnering with Nokia to develop private networks for manufacturing and logistics companies in foreign markets, where Verizon doesn’t have its own network.

“Next year will be all about deploying private 5G and not about commercial success and we will start seeing early monetization from 2022 onwards,” Sowmyanarayan Sampath, president of Verizon’s global enterprise business said.