Tesla deploys private 5G in its factory in Berlin

  • Tesla says it intends to roll out private 5G at its factories globally

  • The company says the network cuts costs and saves time

  • Porsche is another major vehicle manufacturer that has made inroads into private networking

Tesla is getting into the private 5G game, rolling out a network in its massive factory in Berlin.

The car company discusses the initiative in a one-minute video on the X social network. The video begins with a man who introduces himself as Pat, part of the IT team at Tesla's Giga Berlin factory.

“We’re one of the first ones in the manufacturing automotive industry to launch private 5G into industry at a big scale,” Pat claims. “Here at Giga Berlin we’re actually the first ones to do this and then scale it globally."

He adds, “Private 5G lays a foundation for innovation and next-level operations in our manufacturing and warehousing facilities. With private 5G we enable mobile machines to communicate ultra reliably and just keep running all the time.” 

Pat introduces Ernesto, part of the networking team, who says, “The private 5G network has really changed the way we deliver network in many places in the factory, especially outdoors.” Outdoor networks traditionally required a big investment and a lot of time to roll out fiber and energy. Now, Tesla just needs to install a small antenna on a building to connect its outdoor facilities. 

Reducing costs seems particularly relevant to a company like Telsa that is currently engaged in an intense round of lay-offs.

The video provides no timescale for global 5G deployment or any word on the network vendors for the project.

Nor did Tesla reveal what spectrum it is using for the private network. The German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) in November 2019 set aside 5G licenses in the 3.7GHz/3.8GHz band for industrial use. So this is likely the spectrum that Tesla is using.

Other 5G private networks

Porsche is using this spectrum for its private 5G research network with Ericsson at its factory in Leipzig, Germany. The research network is being used to test robotics and other use cases.

Porsche also claimed to roll out “Europe’s first 5G hybrid mobile private network” at Nardò Technical Center in Italy in December 2022 with Vodafone Business. 

Meanwhile, in the United States, operators and vendors are working on multiple 5G private deployments in port facilities, mining operations, and industrial sites. Just this week, Verizon revealed its first neutral host 5G private network with Cummins in upstate New York.