Bosch applies for private 5G licences for Industry 4.0

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Bosch has applied for 5G operating licences for selected German locations, saying it believes local area networks are “the way forward”.

The application follows a recent decision by Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) regulator to allocate frequencies for private use.

Telcos have had their sights set on the 5G enterprise market as a major money-spinner in the light of eroding income from their established services and to pay for the massive investment they need to make in 5G spectrum and networks.

However, private licences could undermine their efforts, with big companies choosing to work directly with equipment manufacturers, cutting operators out. Ofcom in the UK is also considering offering private licences.

“Private campus networks offer a maximum of security and independence,” said Rolf Najork, the Bosch management board member responsible for industrial technology.

“5G speeds up industrial manufacturing processes. By establishing local 5G networks, we will be able to take a significant leap forward in our ambitions to create the factory of the future", he added.

Data sovereignty

Bosch has initially applied for 5G operating licences for its lead plant in Stuttgart-Feuerbach and the research campus in Renningen.

Following licencing by the regulatory authorities, Bosch intends to set up these local 5G networks in collaboration with selected partners over the course of 2020.

“Campus networks allow us to decide for ourselves what architecture and security features best suit our needs, and what equipment we will use to implement them.

And we know who has access to specific components and data,” commented Andreas Müller, a Bosch researcher and chairman of the international 5G Alliance for

Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA).

He added that the campus network reduces business risks and preserves data sovereignty.

Frequency on demand

BNetzA has set aside the 3,700 to 3,800 MHz frequency band for private licences.

It said frequencies will be allocated according to demand, with preference given to Industry 4.0 or agricultural and forestry applications. Licences will be granted for an initial period of ten years.