BT and Ericsson team up to build private 5G networks in the UK

31 May 2022

Image: © nmann77/

The multi-year contract will see BT and Ericsson deploy private 5G networks in sectors such as manufacturing, defence, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.

BT and Ericsson have announced a multimillion-pound partnership to develop private 5G networks for the UK market, which the companies describe as the first agreement of its kind in the country.

The multi-year contract will allow BT to sell Ericsson’s 5G mobile network technology to businesses and organisations in sectors such as manufacturing, defence, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.

Managing director of BT’s Division X unit for emerging tech, Marc Overton, said the partnership will combine BT’s experience in building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s “leading, sustainable and secure 5G network equipment”.

“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,” Overton added.

“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.”

The two companies have already worked together on several major projects that incorporate private 5G networks, including at Belfast Harbour.

BT and Ericsson installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of the port in a bid to improve efficiency and optimise processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping.

The partnership is also exploring how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and connected autonomous vehicles can enhance public safety, physical security and address the climate crisis in other parts of Belfast.

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

“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.”

Ireland’s first dedicated private 5G network was launched last year by Vodafone in partnership with Irish Manufacturing Research.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic