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AWS Private 5G out of the box – an unwelcome surprise for operators?

News

DISH, Amazon Fulfillment, and Koch Global Services among customers and partners already using a ‘preview’ of the service in the US.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced AWS Private 5G, a new managed service to help enterprises set up and scale private 5G mobile networks.

A ‘preview’ version of the service is in use in the US by DISH Network, Koch Global Services (which has 122,000 employees around the global and locations in nearly every US state and 60 countries) and Amazon Fulfillment.
 
Amazon’s CEO, Adam Selipsky, said at the AWS Re:Invent 2021 event yesterday that other countries will follow, and that service would be available direct from AWS as well as through its operator partners.

AWS said the launch is in response to listening to customers’ needs, and that it takes days, not months to set up.

Automated out of the box

Using the AWS console, customers specify where they want to build a mobile network and the network capacity needed for their devices – then AWS delivers and maintains the required small cell radio units, servers, 5G core and radio access network (RAN) software, and subscriber identity modules (SIM cards).

AWS Private 5G automates the set-up and deployment of the network, and scales capacity on demand to support additional devices and increased network traffic.

There are no upfront fees or per-device costs with AWS Private 5G, and customers only pay for the network capacity and throughput they request. 

The idea is to eliminate procurement, integration, and maintenance of hardware and software from multiple third-party vendors.

Once the equipment is installed and switched on, AWS Private 5G automatically configures and deploys the mobile network. To connect devices to the private network, customers plug the AWS-supplied SIM cards into their devices.

AWS Private 5G integrates with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enabling network administrators directly to control which resources mobile devices can access on their private mobile networks.

Customers can start with small networks and few devices using AWS Private 5G, analyse their network needs once it is in operation, and leverage the elasticity and pay-as-you-go pricing of AWS to scale their private mobile network as they add more devices.

Rapid scaling

Matt Hoag, CTO at Koch Business Solutions, commented, “In collaboration with industry software vendors like Mavenir and global communication service providers, AWS Private 5G can helps solve real challenges that enterprises face in deploying private cellular networks around the world.
 
“We believe that this combination will also encourage expansion of the cellular Industrial IoT ecosystem and accelerate the delivery of disruptive private connectivity solutions for our customers.”

Stephen Bye, Chief Commercial Officer at DISH, said, “Selecting AWS has enabled us to onboard and scale our 5G core network functions within the cloud.

“AWS's…platform allows us to better serve our consumer wireless customers, while unlocking new business models for enterprise customers across a wide range of industry verticals.

“Our ability to support dedicated, private 5G enterprise networks allows us to give customers the scale, resilience and security needed to support a wide variety of devices and services, unlocking the potential of Industry 4.0.”

In what has been a week of turmoil for some of Europe’s biggest operator groups, this productisation of its offer to DISH et al provides little comfort. Many of the largest operators in particular are looking to 5G Standalone and its new capabilities to drive new revenue streams (see below), but already face stiff competition from equipment suppliers such as Nokia and Ericsson.

Taken from Mapping a path to telecom revenue growth, published by TM Forum, October 2021
 
Where AWS has trodden, it seems unlikely that Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and others will be far behind.