Virgin Media O2 Business has launched a portable commercial 5G Standalone (SA) private network.

The operator claims that the device is the UK’s first commercially available plug-and-play 5G SA private network for enterprises.

– Virgin Media O2 Business

Once plugged in, the new portable network enables companies to immediately access 5G connectivity at the flick of a switch, without the time and expense of building an entire network.

Following trials of the technology, the telco said it has developed and deployed two 5G SA private networks, while it noted that its installation at its innovation arm, Wayra, in London is being used by organizations based at the campus, including by industrial communications specialists Mobilus Labs.

According to Virgin Media O2, further trials with companies offering products ranging from virtual reality applications to Internet of Things (IoT) services have shown benefits including high reliability, enhanced data security, and ultra-low latency.

The operator has worked with Nokia to run the applications on the private networks on Nokia's industrial Edge platform.

“Moving beyond trials, Virgin Media O2 Business is now the UK’s first telco to offer a portable commercial 5G Standalone Private Network," said Virgin Media O2 Business managing director Jo Bertram. "From start-ups to large enterprises, our latest network solution will enable 5G trials and deployment without the time or cost of building a whole network. Removing barriers, like location and cost, to ensure that businesses get the connection they need.”

Virgin Media O2 isn't the only UK operator that has pitched the potential of Standalone 5G, with Vodafone also prominent in this field.

Vodafone switched on its Standalone 5G (SA 5G) network in some parts of the country in June. In February, the operator also showcased its prototype Open RAN-compliant 5G network-in-a-box product, which it said could 'revolutionize' the 5G private network sector.