Nokia and Kyndryl partner for private wireless

Nokia announced one of its biggest partnerships to date in the private wireless space, inking a deal with Kyndryl, the managed infrastructure services business spun off from IBM in November 2021. The partners plan to address the industrial market with LTE and 5G networks and edge compute capabilities.

The companies said they’ve already developed a joint solution that can help enterprise private networks leverage AI, cloud computing and IoT. For chemical giant Dow, Nokia and Kyndryl have completed proofs of concept that use private wireless to support a company-wide blueprint for Industry 4.0 applications meant to track assets and enhance worker safety. Nokia said Dow plans to expand the blueprint worldwide.

Kyndryl and Nokia are also working with a large aluminum and copper manufacturing company in Asia to stand up a private wireless network using unlicensed spectrum to operate equipment, said Chris Johnson, head of the global enterprise business at Nokia.

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Nokia and Kyndryl said in a statement their partnership will enable applications running at the edge of the network to leverage the speed, low latency, and high bandwidth provided by private networks. The partners said they hope to address a wide range of asset-intensive industries, starting with manufacturing. Johnson said the companies hope to also target the automotive, aviation, energy, mining, smart cities, logistics, healthcare and financial services industries.

Automation, robotics, AI, and augmented and virtual reality can all help asset-intensive industries manage processes better, the companies said. These require edge-based analytics and fast, secure transfer of data on-premise, which private networks can provide.

“As enterprises across every industry are seeking new ways to digitally transform their operations, 5G and edge computing grow so they can harness the promise of these emerging technologies,” said Paul Savill, global practice leader of network and edge compute for Kyndryl, in a statement. “By collaborating with Nokia, we’re taking another step forward in helping our customers unlock the power of LTE and 5G.”

The existing industrial ecosystem for private LTE offers plenty of near-term opportunities, the companies said, but they are creating an upgrade path for their customers with a solution that is ready for standalone 5G and incorporates edge compute, Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud platform.

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Nokia has deployed 420 enterprise private wireless networks to date, using spectrum licensed to both operators and enterprises, as well as shared spectrum, such as CBRS. The vendor has a partnership with Key Bridge Wireless, which mediates access to this shared spectrum for Nokia’s private wireless customers.

Kyndryl and Nokia said they also plan to explore other integrated solutions, in areas including edge cloud, IP networking, optics, fixed access, and 4G and 5G core and network operations software technologies.

In addition to Kyndryl, Nokia is working with other major technology service providers to grow its Digital Automation Cloud business; for example Accenture and Tech Mahindra both offer the solution to their customers.

Meanwhile Kyndryl has a strategic alliance with Microsoft, a deal announced just after Kyndryl separated from IBM. The partnership does not explicitly cover private wireless, but Microsoft acquired the ability to offer this service with its purchase of Affirmed Networks.