Verizon bolsters private 5G MEC with AWS

Verizon beefed up its private 5G mobile edge compute (MEC) capabilities through an expanded partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), targeting gains in the enterprise segment after spending much of 2020 building up its public MEC muscle.

The collaboration will integrate Verizon’s private 5G network and edge platform with AWS Outposts, allowing customers to deploy secure, dedicated edge infrastructure on-premises to support applications ranging from factory automation to intelligent logistics and predictive maintenance.

Verizon previously teamed with AWS to launch public 5G MEC capabilities, reaching a total of 10 cities by end-2020, and last year also signed deals focused on public MEC with IBM and Cisco.

Until now, however, it had secured only a single deal with Microsoft for private 5G MEC.

Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said in a statement “developers are already creating new latency-dependent solutions that run on the Verizon/AWS public MEC service launched last year,” adding the new private AWS offering “will unlock that same potential for enterprise customers who need to maintain a secure, closed environment in factories, warehouses and other facilities.”

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An operator representative told Fierce that beyond the compute and storage offered on its public 5G edge, the private MEC service will provide “additional support for databases, object storage, big data services, load balancing and more.” The representative added moves to strengthen its private 5G MEC capabilities were aimed at “positioning Verizon as the edge enablement company for businesses.”

Corning will be the first to use the new service at its fiber-optic cable manufacturing facility in North Carolina, deploying it to power autonomous mobile robots on the factory floor.

Beyond industrial use cases, AWS GM and Director of Products for edge computing services George Elissaios noted in a blog the technology could also be used in applications spanning healthcare, education and entertainment.

Public vs Private

Private 5G MEC is one of two avenues Verizon is pursuing as it aims to generate “meaningful” revenue from 5G MEC starting in 2022, the other being public 5G MEC.

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Analysts previously raised doubts about whether enterprises would be inclined to eschew the public cloud for private 5G MEC, but the Verizon representative told Fierce the choice between services will largely depend on what use case a customer wants to serve.

“For consumer use cases that are expected to be consumed in a variety of geographies/metropolitan areas, public MEC would be the best choice given the availability of 10 Wavelength Zones nationwide to serve customers at scale," said the spokesperson. On the other hand, for dedicated customer premises, those enterprise customers could harness Private MEC for that lowest latency experience without compromising on feature robustness or seamlessness connectivity back to the core cloud.”