Ericsson scored a key private 5G networks deal with BT Group, a multi-million pound agreement covering the UK which the operator hailed as a game changer for enterprise connectivity.

The companies plan to provide commercial private 5G networks to UK businesses and organisations in industrial, defence, academic, health, retail, and transport and logistics sectors, among others.

Ericsson stated it will provide BT with its Private 5G portfolio, a range of equipment delivering reliable indoor and outdoor coverage. The companies staked a claim to the agreement being the “first major” move of its kind in the UK, one which will capitalise on growing demand for services including asset tracking, predictive maintenance and automation.

BT and Ericsson highlighted an existing collaboration at Belfast Harbour involving a private 5G network deployment spanning 35-acres of the port which covers existing operations while exploring the use of emerging technologies including AI and IoT.

Marc Overton, MD of BT Enterprise unit Division X, predicted the deal would enable the operator to provider “pioneering” services along with “smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0”.

He explained the commercial private 5G networks will be tailored to individual businesses’ needs, providing a “foundation to overlay other innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, VR and AR”.