BT and Ericsson strike private 5G network partnership

BT and Ericsson have partnered to deliver private 5G infrastructure to UK businesses, allowing for sale of next-generation mobile communications

Claimed to be the first agreement of its kind in the UK, the deal will combine BT‘s evolving mobile communication capabilities with Ericsson Private 5G, to allow customers to address specific business needs using 5G and other digital technologies.

Organisations in sectors such as manufacturing, education, retail and healthcare will be able to leverage new applications and IoT capabilities to improve productivity, optimise business operations and save costs.

In the private sector, 5G is capable of powering automation and more accurate tracking of complex supply chains.

According to data, 5G private networks are predicted to grow at an average rate of 40 per cent a year between 2021 and 2028, by which time the market will be worth $14bn (£10.7bn).

What’s more, Gartner forecasts global 5G network infrastructure revenue to grow 39% this year.

Both BT and Ericsson believe that there is significant business demand across the UK for the benefits that the new infrastructure can provide.

In line with this, BT plans to invest £100 million into its recently established ‘Division X’ emerging tech unit over the next three years.

“This UK-first deal we have signed with Ericsson is a huge milestone and will play a major role in enabling businesses’ transformation, ushering in a new era of hyper-connected spaces,” said Marc Overton, managing director of BT’s Division X.

“We have combined our skill and expertise at building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading, sustainable and secure 5G network equipment, to offer a pioneering new proposition that will be attractive to many industries. 5G private networks will also support smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0 which can realise significant cost savings and efficiencies for manufacturers.

“Unlike a public network, a private 5G network can be configured to a specific business’s needs, as well as by individual site or location. They also provide the foundation to overlay other innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, VR and AR, opening up a multitude of possibilities.”

Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland, commented: “This ground-breaking agreement with BT means we are together taking a leading role in ensuring 5G has a transformative impact for the UK.

“The high quality, fast and secure connectivity provided by Ericsson Private 5G can help organisations make all-important efficiency gains that can create safer, more productive, and sustainable business operations and help the country build global leaders in the industries and technologies of the future.”


5G rollouts: what is the priority? — Matt Percival, senior director service provider at Gigamon, discusses how prioritisation of 5G rollouts will play out in 2022.

5G and sustainability: a corporate responsibility — Bhushan Patil, senior vice-president EMEA at Tech Mahindra, discusses how businesses can adopt 5G to align with sustainability initiatives.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.