Introducing an industry first: Private 5G from NTT

by Shahid Ahmed

13 August 2021

Hiker jumping above peaks

I’m pleased to share with you the launch of our Private 5G platform, the first globally available 5G network-as-a-service offering, available as a fully-consumable service. Our unique approach to private 5G was born from deep conversations with Chief Information Officers, Chief Digital Officers and the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Through this input, we learned that global enterprises are looking for a unified solution above and beyond 5G connectivity, enabling cloud and digital transformation.

Five new rules of private 5G

To be fully consumable and connect workers, automate processes and drive efficiencies, private 5G needs to be designed to fit within your existing technology footprint. Your infrastructure, your policies, your operations. Many have told you about the potential of 5G as a wireless communication technology. You have heard about its seamless integration with your cloud/edge compute initiatives.

I’m here to tell you that we have found a way to fully integrate this transformative technology with existing enterprise IT and industrial IoT infrastructures, enable you with services to consume it at global scale, secure its operations in close alignment with corporate and IT security practices – and more importantly – provide you with necessary services to develop the digital applications and systems that are at the center of your digital transformation.

Here are the five steps we’ve taken to make this possible.

1. Think software, not radios

Design thinking principles must lead the way in adopting private 5G networks. Lower latency, predictable performance and improved mobility coverage mean nothing unless there is a software-defined infrastructure built to mold the underlying technology to your needs.

It’s time to go beyond what we already know about 5G as an innovative technology. The real challenge in front of us is to make it fully consumable within enterprise environments.

It’s a brand-new express lane of communication, with the potential to move past any digital innovation brought to surface with any prior traditional wireless connectivity option. For the first time ever, with the promise of guaranteed latency and bandwidth service levels on enterprise wireless, it enables you to unplug critical infrastructure.

This is only possible if you use a brand-new enterprise network operating system that can translate enterprise-owned and -operated mobile and IoT device profiles to private 5G cellular connectivity. One that offers user, role, device and app-specific policies on private 5G, enabling micro-slicing policies, going beyond what standard implementation of 5G network slicing can promise. Any device, any app, any environment – fully under your control – supported with a single, unified Private 5G solution.

2. Embrace cloud native

Another first: with private 5G, your wireless network can finally scale at the speed of your cloud apps and edge compute infrastructure. By design, private 5G calls for the network to fully integrate with your existing cloud and edge compute infrastructure. It calls for the network operating system (OS) to be deployed as an app itself, with each of its network functions designed and implemented as a microservice.

As you might guess, it’s important to translate this underlying technology to something useful within the enterprise. A collection of microservices means nothing if it takes you weeks to setup a 5G mobile core.
So, we’ve made it as easy as couple of clicks to deploy Private 5G network services alongside your on-premises bare metal, private edge compute, metro/edge-cloud and public cloud environments. Wherever you would like to deploy and scale your enterprise app infrastructure, we can automate deployment of a 5G mobile core. Again, fully under your control. You decide when to expand, where to deploy and how to secure.

We’ve built a managed services layer on top to embed value-added capabilities for proactive monitoring, and seamless integration with your IT and industrial IoT environments, among others. We will be our community’s first developers, taking advantage of this modern cloud-native enterprise network connectivity and we’re inviting all enterprise app developers to do likewise.

3. Use global spectrum

For the first time ever, private 5G cellular will allow us to bridge the gap between licensed, shared and unlicensed spectrum options and create a single unified connectivity framework. But you guessed right – the challenge is only met with a software-defined solution.

A single management framework across many global locations and a single network infrastructure that automatically tackles changes in spectrum policies maximizes coverage/capacity indoors and outdoors. The days of optimizing each radio configuration per site, city or country can no longer scale when it comes to private 5G. The spectrum management should be made as invisible as possible, similar to Wi-Fi infrastructures.

We’re starting our journey with global spectrum availability for our enterprise customers across more than 20 countries worldwide and expanding. Our single policy and operations framework can move at your speed, all while being centrally managed.

4. Deploy with zero-trust security

Real-time data collection, data-driven insights and predictive maintenance are key requirements for almost all digital transformation initiatives. As a result, it’s a mandate – not an option – for CIOs to rely on a private 5G infrastructure that’s designed to keep their data safe within their premises.

With operational technology facing rising cybersecurity threats, enterprises can take advantage of device-level security and always-on wireless encryption offered inherently by SIM-based security – as long as it can seamlessly fit within an existing zero-trust enterprise security framework.

An interference-free private spectrum enables greater autonomy and accelerated delivery on operational objectives. But that’s not enough. Device- and app-aware security and data privacy enforcement must be enabled for private cellular – just like your next-generation SD-WAN service, Web Secure Gateways and more.

You cannot afford the risk of your private 5G infrastructure talking a different language.

5. Empower app developers

Private 5G delivers dedicated lanes of wireless communication with predictable performance and increased uptime for platforms and systems that require real-time responses from the network. As enterprises move forward with their plans to automate processes and improve efficiencies, they’ll have to experiment with many new use-cases and applications to support enterprise digital transformation journeys.

No surprises here: we’re bringing a full suite of application development and system integration capabilities to the table to help you realize 5G’s full potential, by putting your critical use-cases at the center of the discussion.

What’s next?

When done right, private 5G provides a strategic alternative to traditional solutions offered by mobile carriers and legacy network equipment providers. It can be designed to deliver enterprise application quality, data security, enterprise control and ease of use – at global scale.

You now have an imperative to jump on the next wave of digital innovation. And our Private 5G Network-as-a-Service platform with its enterprise-friendly consumption model is ready to help you turn the challenge into a massive opportunity.

To continue the conversation, learn more about our Private 5G solution.

Shahid Ahmed

Shahid Ahmed

Executive Vice President, New Ventures & Innovation