Cellnex to build private 5G network in Basingstoke

(Image credit: Christoph Scholz/Flickr)

Cellnex UK has been awarded a ten-year contract to build a Private 5G network in Basingstoke, supporting the local business community and creating a ‘living lab’ to test next-generation mobile applications.

A private 5G network is one that provides dedicated access to a specific customer, using either licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrum, with no resources shared by any third party. By pursuing this route, customers can define the scale, pace of rollout, and technology used, while guaranteeing a certain level of performance for their applications.

Cellnex will construct a 5G core and radio access network (RAN) in Basing View, home to more than 100 businesses, providing infrastructure for the testing, commercialisation, and real-world use of new technologies.

Basingstoke private 5G

The local council hopes to establish Basing View as a site for technological innovation, citing the presence of many firms from the financial, digital, science and cybersecurity industries, and industry partners will be able to trial their innovations in a real life setting. These include smart city, IoT, retail, health, and transportation applications.  

The project is supported by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and the 5G Innovation Centre at the nearby University of Surrey in Guildford.

“5G technology is going to transform the way we all live our lives and deliver significant benefits for our borough’s businesses and encourage more businesses to come and grow here,” said Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Ken Rhatigan.

“I am delighted that we have been able to continue our strong track record of partnership with the private sector to attract significant investment to ensure our borough remains a great place to live and work and cement our reputation as a top tech town. We look forward to working with Cellnex and Enterprise M3 to bring our 5G vision to reality.”

While the deal may not sound significant, it highlights both the growth of private cellular connectivity and the willingness for customers to bypass traditional mobile operators in favour. It also serves to show the increasing role of Cellnex in the UK.

The Spanish firm entered the private 5G market back in 2020 through the acquisition of Edzcom, the same year it purchased Arqiva’s tower assets, and is attempting to purchase Three’s passive infrastructure as part of a pan European deal. Its network of masts, towers and other sites across the continent is set to reach 300,000 by the end of the decade.

“I am delighted that Cellnex UK has been given the opportunity to support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s vision of a fully connected business community in Basing View,” said David Crawford, Managing Director, Cellnex UK. 

“Cellnex UK, through its Edzcom business, has deployed over 35 private networks across Europe, including ports, airports, mines, manufacturing plants, refineries and is the ideal partner to deliver Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council plans for economic growth and digital innovation in the area.”

IDC predicts demand for private cellular networking equipment to support mission critical applications will see the market reach $5.7 billion by 2024.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.