Nokia & China Mobile Announce B2B 5G Partnership – MWC 2018

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In conjunction with MWC 2018, Nokia and China Mobile have signed a cooperative agreement to explore how 5G can be used to push vertical growth, driving new business models and the economy as a whole. The two companies already have a 5G collaboration in place exploring 5G network security and the development of open architectures. However, this will expand on those efforts to cover smart cities, connected transportation, video analytics, and general business-to-business applications. Specifically, the partnership is looking for ways that current businesses can be incorporated into smart city ecosystems. 5G will drastically change the level of connectivity over the coming years and both that and the growing number of IoT devices will present new opportunities for industry leaders to tap into. The newly announced joint research is set to take place at China Mobile’s 5G innovation labs.

One prime example of this, according to Nokia, will be in the way businesses use logistics and the possible implications for logistics companies themselves. That’s especially true since interconnectivity and mass data transfer will open up a wealth of information about consumers and plenty of new ways to use that data. It isn’t immediately clear what exactly those use cases will be. Giving a more narrow example, Nokia says that one industry the partnership will explore is how car rental companies can take advantage of 5G autonomous vehicles and the incoming vehicle-to-everything (V2X) software and hardware ecosystems. A trial ecosystem is already in place on that front, which should provide ample opportunity to examine how the connectivity could impact that industry, including research into how that connectivity can improve vehicle safety. The companies will be conducting that research using Nokia’s 5G Future X network architecture, in addition to narrowband IoT and mobile edge computing technologies. Beyond that, the previous agreement between Nokia and China Mobile will continue pressing forward to explore and enhance network security through intelligent network protection techniques. They will also continue working on new ways to access and utilize embedded network intelligence and the Open Network Automation Platform architecture.

While some companies have already been working to design, plan, and build out smart city infrastructure, efforts like Nokia and China Mobile’s project are likely going to become increasingly important over the next several years. The overall impact of the IoT is still not well understood, with regard to how specific businesses or industries can interact with consumers or data collection. Moreover, connected cities and infrastructure have fundamentally rewritten the rules of what’s possible in terms of those aspects of networking. Bearing that in mind, it should be interesting to see what this partnership comes up with over the next several months.