AWS private 5G mobile network generally available but without 5G support

Amazon recently announced the general availability of AWS Private 5G, a managed service for configuring and deploying private mobile networks. The current lack of 5G support, minimum price for a radio unit, and US-only availability have raised concerns in the community.

Announced in preview since the last re:Invent conference, Private AWS 5G is designed to deploy and maintain a private mobile network and connect thousands of devices and machines with low latency and high bandwidth. Despite its name, the service currently only supports 4G LTE. Jeff Barr, vice president and chief evangelist at AWS, Explain:

The private mobile network uses the CBRS spectrum. It supports 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) today and will support 5G in the future, both of which give you a consistent and predictable level of throughput with ultra-low latency. You get long-range coverage, indoors and out, and precise access control. AWS Private 5G runs on infrastructure managed by AWS. It is self-service and API-driven, and can scale based on geographic coverage, number of devices, and overall throughput.

Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-aws-private-5g-build-your-own-private-mobile-network/

The current lack of 5G support has raised doubts as well as the minimum price to try the service. While there are no upfront fees or per-device costs, each radio unit costs $10 per hour, with a minimum commitment of 60 days ($14,400). In a popular Reddit threaduser Akustic646 writing:

Very expensive! We run a fleet of devices on a 4g/5g connection across the country and would like to run our own network instead of going with verizon/tmobile/att (whichever is best in the region where a unit is deployed) , but not at this price. .

Gabriel Brown, Heavy Reading analyst, adds:

Looks like they wanted to get started as a GA, but they’re not quite ready and set a price on not selling.

AWS Private 5G is designed to offer two deployment options, in an AWS Region and on-premises, but the current release only supports configuration with the mobile network core hosted on AWS. This is a deployment where small cell radio units are installed at the customer’s premises while the network control and data plane are housed in an AWS data center. Barr warns:

Planning and deploying a private wireless network can be complex, and not every business has the tools to do this job on their own. Additionally, CBRS spectrum in the United States requires Certified Professional Installation (CPI) of radios. To meet these needs, we are building an ecosystem of partners.

The new service scales the core based on the number of radio units and helps customers with cloud-hosted applications who want to route device traffic to downstream AWS services.

The radio units are certified for use only in the United States, and the new service is currently only available in three AWS Regions: Ohio, Northern Virginia, and Oregon. Marco Teschtechnical manager at tecRacer, comments:

I can’t wait to see this service coming to Europe!

The minimum private 5G package includes one radio unit and ten SIM cards and the radio unit requires mains power and wired internet access, as well as backbone network. The cloud provider released a short video to introduce the service.

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