Partnerships, acquisitions and mergers are important elements that drive modern businesses to grow. Currently, as 5G technology improves the user experience for various use cases such as Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality and ultra high definition video, partnerships of 5G system integration providers with telecom operators are already increasing.
Aiming to unlock the potential of 5G, IBM; Casa Systems, a company focused on 5G transformation; and Enea, a company providing 5G data management and mobile network security, announced their partnership.
Through the partnership, each company will contribute to building an efficient private 5G network, allowing operators and enterprises to build and deploy their own platforms for better reliability, scalability and network security. The move also aims to deliver ultra-low latency with reduced end-to-end deployment costs, creating a path to 5G network deployment with centralized control and edge-based deployment intelligence.
What this partnership will bring
As the global 5G infrastructure market is estimated to reach US$9.26 billion in 2022 and US$81 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 54.37%, IBM, Casa Systems and Enea understand the need for important collaborations in the industry. Their partnership could be what they need to have a solid presence and compete successfully in the market with other 5G major players such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, among others.
This partnership is also fueled by the growing adoption of 5G in key industries such as healthcare, energy and utilities, manufacturing, financial services and defense. These industries increasingly rely on the agility of 5G to keep critical systems and applications running. However, IBM, Casa Systems and Enea believe that the widespread adoption of 5G poses a potential security risk and aim to create a private 5G solution that is more reliable and secure.
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To achieve this, all three parties will bring separate technological innovations to the table to provide a secure private 5G network for businesses. As part of the partnership, Casa Systems will offer end-to-end 5G wireless solutions through its Axiom Software Framework that address the coverage and capacity needs of public and private networks.
The deal sees IBM providing its Cloud Pak for Network Automation, which enables networking and automation. This will also help cloud service providers transform their networks, move toward zero-touch operations, reduce operational costs, deliver services faster, and drive the zero-trust strategy of telcos.
Enea, on the other hand, will deliver security improvements through end-to-end encrypted communications and subscriber data management without vendor lock-in through its open-shift model.
Aside from the individual contributions above, all three organizations are currently working on a customer proof-of-concept collaboration in Dallas. According to the parties, this move will improve subscriber data management, integrated security, interoperability and 5G multiple access.
In addition, IBM said it is working with Casa Systems to develop open wireless access network solutions to address private 5G use cases. The two aim to enable service providers and enterprises to build solutions that are much more flexible and resilient to change.
The companies claim that ORAN will enable network operators to use high-quality network components without worrying about vendor lock-in and high costs, while still offering important benefits including network flexibility, agility and scalability.
Additionally, due to the high deployment of 5G in applications involving robotics, artificial intelligence, IoT, 3D printing and augmented reality, the companies believe that the manufacturing sector will be the biggest beneficiary of the partnership. IBM, Casa Systems and Enea also claim the collaboration will see manufacturing shift from mass production to massive customization.
Where are other big 5G players?
Every major partnership, merger or acquisition in the technology industry impacts the market in one way or another. How will this partnership affect other prominent players in the 5G market?
Since 5G went mainstream, there has been news of numerous telecom operators investing in the development of next-generation network infrastructure. These investments are primarily aimed at enabling providers to build up a sizeable customer base.
In addition, the major industry players are actively focusing on mergers and acquisitions to strengthen their position in the international market. For example, in September 2018, T-Mobile and Ericsson signed a deal to support T-Mobile’s 5G rollout in the United States.
Similarly, earlier this year, Intel announced that it had acquired private 5G network provider Ananki. Intel said the deal with the startup would help it focus on commercializing private 5G services based on open-source network technologies.
In addition, large market participants spend a lot of money to buy the required spectrum. Companies believe such investments will enhance their overall portfolios and grow their subscriber bases worldwide. For example, in 2018, the BT Group Enterprise (EE) division bought 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum (3540-3580MHz spectrum frequencies) for approximately $426.5 million. The company intends to use the spectrum to offer enhanced internet services in the UK
With all the mergers, acquisitions and partnerships in the 5G industry, IBM, Casa Systems and Enea face an uphill battle for a major impact in the 5G market.
In other 5G-related news, the GSMA pushed for faster 5G rollout across Europe, while Las Vegas and NTT built the largest private 5G network in the United States.