Verizon wins first 5G contract for UK freeport


American carrier Verizon Communications has won its first industrial 5G contract in Europe, securing a deal with Associated British Ports (ABP) to supply an upgraded wireless system at one of the UK's new freeports.

Photo credit: Verizon
Photo credit: Verizon
The company will build and run a next-generation private wireless system in Southampton. The network will leverage Nokia's Digital Automation Cloud solution.

Southampton is one of several, post-Brexit, low-tariff coastal business zones that will be created following the UK government's most recent Budget. The Port of Southampton is currently responsible for £40bn in UK exports each year.

Speaking on a video call announcing the decision, chief executive officer of ABP, Henrik Pedersen, said: "We chose Verizon simply due to [its] track record of setting up private 5G networks. 5G is not regional or local, its is global.

“There’ll be a lot of need for data transfer in the freeport zone, especially when you start to move goods in and out of the customs zones. [Our] 5G network will enable new systems [including] drones that can transmit high-definition video for maintenance checks and send live shipping data."

It is expected that the Solent Freeport private network will be operational by July with the rest of ABP’s 21 UK ports "likely to tender [for] 5G networks in the future".

Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said: “Businesses such as ABP, are coming under more pressure to evolve their services at tremendous speeds in order to take advantage of new commercial opportunities.

"Along with Nokia, we have been able to equip ABP to take advantage of the immediate benefits offered by private 5G, and most importantly, prepare the [Solent] port to take full advantage of new technology applications and real-time analytics which will digitally transform its services in the future."

For all the latest developments in the sector, register your interest and join us at BAPCO 2021

Media contact

Philip Mason
Managing Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216