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High Speed and Low Cost at Center of New Commercial 5G Use Cases









AT&T and Verizon have announced new use cases for 5G, demonstrating different capabilities and applications for the technology. One focuses on high speed, the other on low cost.

AT&T and Ford Motor Company are outfitting one of the automaker’s assembly plants with a private 5G network using the wireless carrier’s Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) technology. MEC is an on-premises edge solution that keeps data where it’s generated and consumed for faster and private processing, and processes data in near-real time, AT&T explains.

“With this collaboration, we’ll help Ford unlock the potential of 5G helping to build the truck of the future,” Rasesh Patel, chief product and platform officer at AT&T Business, said in a press release.

On-Premises Setup at Factory Delivers Faster Processing Times 

In the Ford plant, this setup will deliver faster processing times and better connections for phones and tablets used on the production line, help automated robotics and machinery make better decisions and have faster reaction times, and enable faster wireless delivery of vehicle software updates. 5G will support additional applications as the devices are updated to enable 5G connectivity.

The assembly plant that is being equipped with this MEC technology will build the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, the first all-electric version of this pickup truck.

“The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center was built with a clean-slate design and features the latest in advanced manufacturing technology,” Adrian Price, executive director, global manufacturing engineering, Ford Motor Company, said in a press release. “We are deploying 5G technology at this facility as a platform to enable us to use significant additional advanced manufacturing technologies in the future.”

Low-Cost 5G Service Enables IoT Applications 

Meanwhile, Verizon Business is rolling out a different sort of 5G service — a low-cost version that is meant for Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as smart meters, HVAC units, air and water quality monitors, manufacturing controls, smart lighting nodes and municipal smart infrastructure.

The new IoT on 5G Nationwide service, when paired with a new low-cost narrowband IoT module that has achieved certification for use on Verizon’s network, is designed to provide cost-effective, turnkey connectivity for a vast array of industrial sensors. Quectel’s BC660K-GL module costs less than $4 and Verizon’s connectivity plans for it will start at less than $1.

“The ability to provide Verizon customers with the module at a very cost-effective rate alongside connectivity plans from Verizon for $1 is transformative and will make a huge variety of IoT use cases possible for the first time,” Patrick Qian, CEO of Quectel Wireless Solutions, said in a press release. “We’re proud to be playing our part, along with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies, in helping IoT innovators build a smarter world.”

New Intelligence Capabilities Monitor IoT Devices 

In other 5G news, Verizon Business also announced new intelligence capabilities for Verizon ThingSpace, the wireless carrier’s IoT marketplace and management platform. The new features enable customers to view network status and service notifications, use machine learning to spot devices that might be compromised, coordinate and manage firmware upgrades and view the health and performance of IoT connections. These features are available for customer trial now, with commercial availability expected later this year.

While most recent additions to Verizon’s services have to do with IoT, the company is developing enterprise-grade solutions similar to that announced by AT&T. As PYMNTS reported, Verizon has implemented a completely dedicated private network and mobile edge computing infrastructure at a plant that manufactures fiber-optic cable.

Read more: Factory Project Explores the Potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing




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