AWS Private 5G pivot is latest in Big Tech’s shift to network cloud

The news: Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leading cloud services provider, moves into the private 5G network market by offering new managed services aimed at simplifying installations for businesses, per Insider.

Why it's worth watching: AWS is leveraging its leadership position in cloud services as well as its large install base of millions of global corporate customers to expand into private 5G services. This is the latest example of Big Tech expanding into networks and becoming carriers as well as cloud providers.

  • Called AWS Private 5G, the new service allows customers to specify their coverage needs and capacity requirements, similar to how AWS customers can quickly expand storage capacity and services.
  • Amazon sends customers a van-load of small-cell radios, a server hosting the 5G core, and as many SIM cards as needed to cover the customers’ needs.
  • The preconfigured system is a plug-and-play solution that automatically configures and connects all the devices. 
  • AWS Private 5G has no upfront fees or per-device costs. Clients do pay for capacity and throughput, which they can scale up if they need to support additional devices.
  • Dish Network, Koch, and Amazon's own fulfillment centers have already signed up.

The takeaway: Cloud providers are racing for ownership of 5G infrastructure. While it is still early days for 5G, we’re already seeing major moves to secure the infrastructure and control the 5G cloud as networks expand into enterprise and private 5G.

  • Verizon and AWS teamed up last year to bring public mobile edge networks to eight US cities.
  • Dish made a deal in April to have Amazon run its core 5G network.
  • Google announced a partnership in July with Ericsson to provide last-mile 5G, albeit on a much smaller scale, in conjunction with Telecom Italia.

Key stats: According to GSMA forecasts, operators are expected to spend $900 billion worldwide between 2021 and 2025 on mobile capital expenditures, nearly 80% of which will be in 5G, and much of this expenditure could run on cloud infrastructure. ABI Research predicts private network revenues will reach $64 billion by 2030.

  • By employing its AWS cloud model on private 5G, Amazon lowers the barrier to adoption for companies lacking in-house expertise or those that would rather deal with one entity instead of an operator, a vendor, and a systems integrator.
  • Moreover, Analysys Mason predicts that 75% of private networks deployed in 2022 will be 5G, making AWS and its hyperscale model a direct competitor to mobile operators.