By James Blackman
Local Japanese telco KATCH is looking to hoover up Industry 4.0 contracts among automotive and high-tech manufacturers in the Aichi Prefecture, in Japan, after apponting Finnish vendor Nokia and local systems integrator CTC to deploy a dedicated private 5G network in the region.
KATCH wants to offer “autonomous industrial-grade private 5G networks” to enterprises and manufacturing companies in the Mikawa region, in the eastern half of the Aichi Prefecture. Nokia called the province a “nerve centre” and an “Industry 4.0… hotbed” [for] manufacturing in the country.
KATCH provides cable television, internet, and telecoms services in the Aichi Prefecture. It has a “strong focus” on the local business community, according to Nokia. It reckons it can “help to establish a thriving ecosystem for 5G private wireless development and digital transformation in the area”.
It appears from a press note that KATCH is looking to deploy a dedicated standalone (SA) 5G network to cover the whole Mikawa region, starting with three base stations in the first phase, and 100 cell sites by completion, some time in the second quarter of next year (2022), when the offer will finally go live.
KATCH will offer ‘private’ 5G to enterprises from this new regional 5G network infrastructure. Nokia and local systems integrator CTC will provide integration and on-going services. Nokia restated it has “more than 260 large enterprise customers” for its private LTE and 5G network solutions; around 40 incorporate 5G, it said.
In December, Nokia joined with five industrial companies in Japan ahead of the release of local spectrum, in a bid to target various vertical sectors. Its partners will sell Nokia’s private LTE and 5G gear to end customers, as a platform for Industry 4.0 applications. These are NS Solutions for factory IoT, Marubeni for global IoT, Internet Initiative Japan for MVNOs, Equinix for multi-cloud and global data centres, and Hitachi Kokusai Electric for smart social infrastructure and smart cities with video solutions.
At the same time, it announced a ‘local 5G tech partnership’ in Japan with Conexio, Hitachi Kokusai, NS (Nippon Steel) Solutions, Omron and Sharp to accelerate adoption of 5G-based enterprise industry solutions. The idea is to combine expertise on industry, devices, applications, cloud, and networking to create new industry-specific solutions for use cases that include remote control, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and automatic guided vehicles.
Executive vice president at KATCH Network, Tatsuya Yamada said: “With many companies acting as beacons of manufacturing excellence, there is a huge concentration of industrial companies in Aichi Prefecture. Given Nokia’s 5G expertise we can now help Aichi-based manufacturers to benefit from reliable and secure, high-bandwidth networking, which delivers the hyper-fast connectivity and low latency essential for Industry 4.0 use cases.”
Head of the KATCH customer team for Nokia’s enterprise business in Japan, Donny Janssens said: “Private wireless networking is a crucial component of manufacturing’s digital transformation. By offering high-performance 5G networking to businesses locally, KATCH will play an important role in strengthening the region’s leadership for manufacturing innovation.”