Nokia is doubling down on its private networks as-a-service business model by introducing new solutions with a number of partners. The vendor has created a private wireless solution for smaller enterprises and has launched new 5G phones for industrial and public safety use cases. 

For small industrial sites, Nokia has developed a compact version of its Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), a pre-integrated private wireless solution, which can be offered to enterprise customers as a service. Nokia says its DAC PW Compact will be ideal for warehouses, as well as smaller manufacturers, mines, petrochemical plants, retailers, and businesses that operate within ports. 

The DAC PW Compact uses Nokia’s Airscale small cells and supports both smartphones and industrial devices on the CBRS spectrum band. Customers will be able to treat their private networks purely as an operating expense since Nokia is not requiring an upfront capital investment.

“It will be providing a very competitive cost structure and total cost of ownership to other wireless technologies, like Wi-Fi,” said analyst Leo Gergs of ABI Research, in a press release. Gergs foresees the DAC PW Compact as a logical choice for enterprises “that might only need a handful of 5G radio units to achieve high levels of constant coverage.”

Nokia claims its new solution is up to 60% more energy-efficient than Wi-Fi, but can also support the addition of Wi-Fi technology if needed.

Channel partners for the new product are DXC Technology, Future Technologies Venture LLC, Graybar, and Trilogy NextGen. 

Ruggedized handheld devices

Nokia has also launched new 5G phones for industrial private networks and these will also be offered as-a-service. These devices are meant for use in potentially hazardous environments such as ports, mines, chemical plants and offshore oil platforms.

The vendor has introduced two 5G explosion-resistant dual-SIM phones in partnership with MOBILE GmbH. Nokia said these phones support a wide range of global spectrum bands, including CBRS.

In addition, Nokia has launched a U.S.-made dual-SIM ruggedized 5G phone, which will be marketed to private wireless customers. The device features an exchangeable battery so that when a worker’s shift ends his or her replacement can bring a fresh battery to the field and use the same device. Remote speaker microphones and earpieces enabling push-to-talk are meant to facilitate communication for workers wearing helmets and gloves.

Nokia will offer the 5G industrial devices through a subscription-based as-a-service model, coupled with its DAC private wireless service. The service also includes Nokia’s device management app, its 3GPP-aligned group communications app and its digital twin. The digital twin allows workers to get a real-time view of the private network on their Android smartphones. The communications app runs on Nokia’s Mission Critical Industrial Edge (MXIE), also offered as-a-service, and supports streaming video and group voice calls, without internet connectivity.

“By extending our portfolio with the new 5G handheld devices and making Nokia Team Comms 3GPP-aligned, we can serve the growing needs of enterprise workers in industrial and hazardous environments as well as public safety teams,” said Martin Beltrop, head of industrial devices, enterprise campus edge solutions at Nokia. “By leveraging the new capabilities of Nokia Network Digital Twin, teams will have more information than ever before allowing them to make instant informed decisions to maintain efficiency and network reliability in their dynamically changing environments.”

**After publication of this story, Nokia confirmed it has about 635 private wireless customers.