Nokia declared a major step forward in efforts to provide private 5G wireless services to utility companies after completing what it claimed was the first data call employing B106 standardisation, an approach incorporated into 3GPP Rel-18.

The Finnish vendor worked with US-based Anterix to make the data call, which took place in a Nokia facility in the country.

Anterix is “the largest holder of licensed spectrum in the 900MHz band” in the contiguous US, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, which it uses to deliver private wireless networks to utilities.

Nokia explained the standardisation of B106 into Rel-18 paved the way “for a broader device ecosystem, including Cat-M devices which can be ideal” for utilities.

It noted 5G can open fresh private network use cases for utilities, including “optimising grid performance and automating smart grids, with more stringent network performance requirements helping to extract more value” from their infrastructure investments.

Anterix CTO Carlos L’Abbate said the sector has a “confirmed evolution path to 5G”, in turn bolstering utility companies’ efforts to modernise grids and meet environmental goals.