German utility companies to build private 4G network
6am | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Energy and water companies in Germany commissioned Nokia to build them a private 4G network on the 450 MHz band.
Nokia has a contract until 2040 – when the 450 MHz license runs out – to build and maintain the system for 450connect, the company that will own the machine-to-machine (M2M) or Internet of Things (IoT) network.
Carsten Ullrich, CEO of 450connect, said: “Given the major challenges of building the 450 MHz platform, we are pleased to have Nokia as a strong and capable partner by our side over the long term. with whom we can meet the high technical requirements of our critical infrastructure operator customers.
450connect is owned by major German utilities, including E.ON and, through a separate consortium, EWE Netz, RheinEnergie and SachsenEnergie.
The German regulator, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA, Federal Network Agency), last year granted 450connect the service license for utilities on 450 MHz until 2040. The low frequency – far below that used by other mobile technologies – provides services with good coverage in buildings. BNetzA covers energy and water (plus railways) as well as telecommunications.
450connect, which also suggests 5G mobile technology will be used, wants to move fast, with test operations this year and the first customers connected in 2023. Nationwide rollout will be complete by 2025, Nokia said.
Dirk Lewandowski, Nokia Enterprise Vice President for Central and Eastern Europe, said: “The task of digitizing Germany’s critical infrastructure is of enormous strategic importance. Nokia can make an important contribution to securing this country’s energy supply through its private, industrial-grade 450 MHz LTE network, especially given the challenges posed by the energy transition towards decarbonization and decentralization. »
Nokia will be responsible for the provision of radio system technology for the 450 MHz network, including core technology, radio stations, microwave radio links for the backhaul network and backup power systems. It will manage the provisioning and performance of all LTE components, including maintenance services, through 2040.
Lewandowski said: “We look forward to a close and trusting cooperation with 450connect on this long-term and important project for the Federal Republic of Germany.”
BNetzA withdrew the previous 450 MHz licenses at the end of 2020 and decided that the spectrum would be made available throughout Germany for critical infrastructure applications for mobile and fixed users.
The regulator said at the time: “This will help pave the way for the digitization of the energy transition, as the spectrum is uniquely suited to be used in building a highly available and resilient nationwide wireless network infrastructure. outages for sectors such as electricity, gas, water and district heating.
450MHz has been little used around the world for many years. From 1981 to 1982, the NMT analog mobile cellular network – which today would be called 1G, or first generation – covered Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden on a mix of 450 MHz and 900 MHz. Only 350 base stations covered the whole of Sweden, although little bandwidth was available to users.