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AT&T and Ericsson are partnering to provide private cellular networks utilizing shared CBRS spectrum that the companies say will optimize localized activities that demand low latency and high security.

AT&T Private Cellular Networks are an extension of the idea that many next generation enterprise edge applications are better served locally, through edge computing, rather than across public networks

Put simply, doing all the “heavy lifting” locally is more efficient and provides better performance than the centralized approaches of the past. Use cases cited by AT&T as examples for the new platform include factories, warehouses and geographically distant mines.

“We’ve been expanding our networking capabilities, and this is a new way for businesses to explore what they can do with private cellular networks – including on-premises edge computing and connecting more IoT devices,” Robert Boyanovsky, AT&T Business’s Vice President of Enterprise Mobility, said in a press release.

AT&T is using Ericsson’s Industry Connect to integrate CBRS to its edge portfolio, which already includes AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC). A key use case for CBRS spectrum is private wireless networks, with winners in the recent auction including enterprise organizations.

The Growing Importance of the Edge

It is important for carriers to move quickly to establish themselves at the edge. In November 2019, AT&T said that “select” customers in Dallas will get access to Network Edge Compute capabilities developed by the carrier and Microsoft. Customers in Atlanta and Los Angeles were slated to get the service this year.

In April 2019, the carrier said it is testing Microsoft Azure as a way to bring its network edge computing capabilities into its 5G network. The goal of the testing was to determine if Azure can reduce latency and improve customer experience when using advanced cloud services.

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