US operator Verizon notched the first deployment of its Ericsson-built neutral host network (NHN) platform with engine manufacturer Cummins in a partnership that also includes a private 5G network from the operator.

A representative for Verizon told Mobile World Live sales for the NHN started to ramp in the latter half of 2023. A NHN is comprised of indoor telecom network equipment that allows one or more service providers to use that infrastructure to serve their customers from a single location.

With the combined platform, enterprises can manage both business-connected operations using the private 5G network and conventional but strengthened public-network connectivity to phones and tablets by using the NHN where signals might otherwise be weak, according to Verizon.

Cummins will employ the NHN and private 5G network at an engine plant in the state of New York. The combined networks will provide mobile connectivity for the site’s 1 million square-feet of industrial space, 1 million square-feet of outdoor space, and for its 1,500 employees who work at the site.

The manufacturer can use the NHN for connecting phones and tablets to the public networks of all US major operators who opt to join in.

With the multi-operator public connectivity, Jennifer Artley, SVP of 5G Acceleration at Verizon Business, stated employees and guests onsite can keep their normal cellular connectivity without any extra steps.

Verizon is the anchor tenant of the NHN and is responsible for engineering, implementation, equipment, and ongoing maintenance and performance of the onsite equipment, but not for other operators’ network equipment.

The private 5G network utilises Verizon’s ultra wideband 5G technology, which is comprised of licenced C-Band and mmWave spectrum, to provide Cummins with business applications that need enhanced onsite security or more robust capabilities.  

The operator noted private 5G network eliminates the need for long runs of ethernet cabling.

It also enables new use cases at the plant such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for handling and transporting materials, computer vision for defect detection, and AR/VR for training and troubleshooting.

Additional applications include sensors for machine health monitoring, and proprietary applications governing secure onsite operations.