Betacom and VMware take on crowded private wireless market

Betacom and Federated Wireless are launching VMware's private network service in a market that is becoming increasingly crowded by service providers, vendors, big tech companies and startups jostling for a piece of the pie.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

August 23, 2023

4 Min Read
Betacom and VMware take on crowded private wireless market
Sanjay Uppal leads VMware's service provider and edge businesses.(Image source: VMware)

LAS VEGAS – VMware Explore – Wireless service provider Betacom is among the first three operators to deploy VMware's Private Mobile Networks service, which is part of the cloud company's 5G as a Service (5GaaS) platform.

Spectrum management company Federated Wireless is also launching VMware's private network in a market that is becoming increasingly crowded by service providers, vendors, big tech companies and startups jostling for a piece of the pie. More on that later.

VMware's approach to private networks

VMware's Private Mobile Networks service can run as either a 4G or 5G private network, according to Sanjay Uppal, SVP & GM of the company's service provider and edge business unit.

"Its cloud orchestration integrates seamlessly with your IT," Uppal told media and analysts on a call last week. "It has a private core and a certified RAN, which means you can bring in different brands, which are radio access network providers, and it gives you an alternate for a different kind of underlay. Private 5G is yet another option that you can bring in and then run an intelligent overlay from VMware on top for all of the edge workloads."

The private network service, powered by VMware's Edge Compute Stack, is designed to assist enterprises in reducing complexity of the management and orchestration of private mobile networks, according to the company.

The edge stack supports use cases such as campus networking in the manufacturing, retail and healthcare sectors. In the manufacturing example, VMware's service could support software-defined manufacturing, predictive maintenance, inventory management and employee safety.

VMware's Private Mobile Networks service will support "all the edge functions necessary to facilitate Industry 4.0" and the low-latency and network performance customers need to further automation, data collection and IoT functions on their networks, said Johan Bjorklund, CEO of Betacom, in a statement.

In May 2021, Betacom scored $15 million in funding to manage private networks for enterprise customers.

Federated Wireless teams up with VMware

Federated Wireless plans to utilize the VMware Private Networks service to deploy and manage private 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) infrastructure on customers' premises. Customers will have the ability to use CBRS shared spectrum as well as privately licensed spectrum in their private mobile network deployments.

Federated Wireless also plans to use VMware's Private Mobile Network Orchestrator to manage customers' networks and integrate them with existing IT environments.

"Enterprises are looking to private cellular networks to enable business transformation, but need solutions that integrate with their existing infrastructure,” said Kevin McCartney, VP of alliances at Federated Wireless, in a statement. "Through the strength of our combined solutioning with VMware, we're giving customers in difficult-to-cover environments an easy on-ramp to private 4G and 5G with the performance and scale they require."

Broader interest in private networks

VMware isn't the only tech giant taking on private wireless – Dell Technologies announced in February an expansion of its private wireless networking portfolio.

Dell's launch also highlights the growing opportunity in the private wireless sector, where many types of companies are dipping their toes in the water.

"For example, telecom network operators like Verizon are competing with equipment vendors such as Ericsson, startups like Celona and Betacom, cloud computing behemoths such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and now Dell," reported Light Reading's Mike Dano.

Be that as it may, "few companies have all the resources necessary to provide an end-to-end solution for a private wireless network, which has led to partnerships among a variety of vendors," he said.

AWS launched its take on private 5G wireless networks in December 2021, but AT&T CEO John Stankey speculated that Amazon would work with smaller enterprises seeking Wi-Fi alternatives while AT&T is focused on larger enterprises.

This February, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) purchased Italian startup Athonet, which offers core networks for private cellular networking operations, for an undisclosed amount in an effort to grab a corner of the private wireless network market.

From tech giants to service providers to startups, the private wireless network sector is becoming increasingly crowded, and VMware's new launch means the market won't be slowing down anytime soon.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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