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Intelsat and Microsoft demonstrate private mobile network

The demonstration has created a private LTE service using Azure Private 5G Core deployed on an Azure Stack Edge device.

Satellite operator Intelsat has completed a demonstration of a first-of-its-kind private mobile network with Microsoft.

The trial used Microsoft’s Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute and FlexEnterprise solutions and Intelsat’s satellite-based global connectivity service.

Held at Intelsat’s office in McLean, Virginia, the demonstration successfully establishes a reference architecture for deploying secure, high-performance private LTE and 5G networks and other cloud services over satellite networks to enterprise locations virtually anywhere globally, including those in remote and austere environments.

The demonstration creates a private LTE service using Azure Private 5G Core deployed on an Azure Stack Edge device. Connectivity to the internet and Azure services is enabled by Intelsat’s FlexEnterprise. Via the private cellular network, users can access local enterprise resources via SIM-authenticated connections to the Azure Stack Edge and access remote resources through the FlexEnterprise connection, the IntelsatOne global network and Azure. Additionally, the LTE network powers a Wi-Fi access point and IoT applications.

Jean-Philippe Gillet, SVP Global Sales Media & Networks, Intelsat, said: “As enterprises look to private cellular networks to improve the reach, security, and quality-of-service over Wi-Fi-only local networks, the ability to support deployments at any site is crucial to creating a fully connected organisation. The applications demonstrated here with Microsoft highlight the increased automation and standardization of enterprise data processing services that globally-available private cellular networks will enable. Support for high-bandwidth, low-latency networks is central to Intelsat’s vision of an end-to-end ecosystem for a global software-defined 5G network.”

Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Mission Engineering, added: “At Microsoft, we are committed to enabling an ecosystem of satellite operators through collaborations such as this one with Intelsat. As the world continues to move to 5G, Microsoft’s Azure Orbital platform, together with our Azure hyper-scale computing platform, allows operators to deploy and maintain faster, easier, and more cost-effective solutions anytime and anywhere.”

Mobile Experts Inc. expects the global private LTE and 5G equipment and services market to grow at around 20% CAGR to about $10bn in 2025.