BT Group struck a deal to install a 5G private network at the Port of Tyne, using Ericsson equipment following a multi-million pound agreement between the two companies to boost enterprise connectivity.

In a statement, BT noted the Port of Tyne was advancing a bid to become a smart port and private 5G would allow customers to take advantage of a range of technologies including robotics, autonomous vehicles, AI and IoT applications.

The move means a recent agreement with Ericsson to commercialise private 5G networks, in what was claimed as a first tie-up of its kind in the country, is already bearing fruit.

Ericsson will complete the installation, BT stated.

The deal with the port was signed during London Tech Week and includes deployment of surveillance and other technologies, and adds to moves to implement hybrid fibre and 4G.

The private network is due to go live later this year, providing next-generation technology across the port’s entire estate. In terms of immediate use cases, BT expects to provide an operational optimisation programme and container tracking to enhance supply chain efficiency, with 5G also being used to create a clean energy test bed.

Ashish Gupta, MD for corporate and public sector at BT, said the secure network it installed with Ericsson, along with its fibre infrastructure, would provide “the foundation to revolutionise many operations”, along with using IoT sensors to deliver benefits in the use of areas such as heavy plant and machinery.