Verizon begins certification of Nokia’s DAC for 5G private networking – FierceWireless

2 minutes, 18 seconds Read
  • Verizon brings Nokia into the private 5G licensed spectrum fold

  • Nokia will join Ericsson as one of the operator’s licensed 5G private networking providers

  • Verizon, however, has not completed Nokia’s full certification yet

Verizon has lent a helping hand to struggling telecom infrastructure vendor Nokia and at the same time added more muscle to its 5G licensed spectrum portfolio. The operator is moving to bring the vendor’s 5G private networking Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) platform onto its roster of similar solutions.

Verizon has already worked with startup Celona, Ericsson, and Nokia on private networking projects, AvidThink principal analyst Roy Chua noted in an email to Fierce Network. Prior to this announcement, however, “only Ericsson had been highlighted when Verizon’s licensed spectrum is used,” Chua said. “Going forward, this allows Nokia with NDAC to be used for similar deployments.”

“We are certifying several of their licensed [5G] capable radios, so low-band band, [mid-band] c-band, and [high-band millimeter wave] are included,” a Verizon representative told us in an email.

The rep noted that Verizon supports several vendors for its private networking systems. But Chua pointed out that Celona only supports the shared Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum so far.

So, the Verizon certification will offer enterprise customers the choice between Ericsson and Nokia 5G radios for their on-premise private network once the Nokia certification is completed.

“I think Verizon is likely looking for more diversity in their licensed spectrum offerings for private networking,” Chua noted.

Of course, Western operators don’t have much choice since Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE are off the table. Thus, Ericsson and Nokia are left fighting it out in this sector. Same as it ever was!

Sectors like manufacturing and logistics, transportation (ports and airports), retail, oil and gas, utilities, education and healthcare are all interested in 5G private networking. As we’ve seen even this week, marquee projects like deploying 5G private networking globally for electric vehicle maker Telsa – aka Elon Musk’s $56 billion potential personal piggy bank – are still coming down the pipeline.

Private networking joy?

Potentially, 4G and 5G private networking could offer some relief to Nokia’s global radio access network (RAN) struggles. The Finish vendor announced in October 2023 that it planned to lay-off 14,000 people globally over the next few years, lost its AT&T RAN contract to Ericsson in December and started to divest smaller business units.

It has posted poor quarterly results so far in 2024, although it expects a recovery in the second half of 2024, which has lead Fierce – and others – to wonder about the future of the company. Possibly, the Verizon deal could be a sign of better times to come.

That said, the Verizon spokeswoman couldn’t give a timeline for when Nokia’s DAC certification would be completed.

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