Wells Fargo Center

Comcast Business said today that it will offer 5G private wireless networks to enterprise customers. The company also announced its first private wireless network, which will use LTE and 5G technologies at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia this quarter.

According to Comcast, applications “may include immersive court-, rink-side and outdoor video experiences, digital signage throughout the venue and the use of the internal network to provide fans inside the arena with real-time information about parking flow or expected wait times on their way out of the venue.”

Private wireless networks use equipment similar to what is used in public wireless networks such as those operated by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, but are for the exclusive use of the enterprise customer. Verizon,  AT&T and others already offer private wireless networks.

In a press release about the Comcast private wireless offering, Bob Victor, senior vice president of product for Comcast Business, noted Comcast’s “unique combination of our network, Wi-Fi expertise, Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, spectrum and managed services.”

Private wireless networks can be implemented using licensed or unlicensed spectrum, and licensed spectrum could belong to the customer or the service provider. Victor’s reference to spectrum as a Comcast asset suggests that the company will be using its own licensed spectrum to support its private wireless offerings.

The company holds licenses in several bands, including the 600 MHz band and the CBRS band. The latter band is particularly attractive for private wireless because it is mid-band spectrum, widely viewed as providing the optimum mixture of speed and range for 5G. Another appealing quality of CBRS band spectrum is that it includes licensed and unlicensed spectrum, giving license holders the option of augmenting capacity using unlicensed spectrum.

Victor’s reference to Comcast’s Wi-Fi expertise relates to the wide Wi-Fi network available to Comcast customers, which also supports the company’s mobile service, which relies, in part, on that Wi-Fi network.

Cox is another cable company that offers private wireless networks.

Nokia is supplying equipment to support Comcast’s private wireless offerings.    

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