Federated launches new CBRS services with AWS, Microsoft Azure

Federated Wireless has been building a name for itself in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) space, and today announced a new turn in its endeavors: delivering a Connectivity-as-a-Service offering for enterprises.

In separate announcements, Federated said it will be offering these services through partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. The services will allow U.S. enterprises to buy and deploy private 4G and 5G networks with a single click through the cloud providers’ marketplaces.

The thinking goes something like this: Enterprises are familiar with cloud marketplaces and how they work. Using the Federated system, they can get access to the kind of secure network and services they need to meet IT or other needs. 

It highlights the transition from early commercialization of CBRS activities to the focus being on how shared spectrum fuels connectivity, said Federated Wireless CTO Kurt Schaubach. “We’re really happy to be working with both Amazon and Microsoft on this,” he said. “Our Connectivity-as-a-Service will launch in both of their marketplaces.”

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Led by President and CEO Iyad Tarazi, Federated Wireless was founded in 2012 and established itself as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrator while deploying an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network for enabling sharing in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. Target customers for its new cloud marketplace services include large manufacturing and logistics facilities, utilities, theme parks and in general, large enterprises with safety and security needs.

Proof-of-concepts already underway include an auto manufacturing warehouse with a large, well-known (but unnamed) electric car manufacturer based out of California where Federated is providing a voice and data solution to run workforce automation and logistics. Another involves a robot in an industrial setting connected via wireless CBRS to move around a factory floor.

All of the services will run on the General Authorized Access (GAA), or unlicensed, part of the CBRS band, which opened for business last year. Federated doesn’t plan to participate in the Priority Access License (PAL) auction set for this summer. However, it sees a vibrant market developing in the PAL segment in the context of leasing or re-leasing licenses, according to Schaubach.

What it’s doing now is somewhat analogous to other cloud services like a Salesforce, where a model was developed that enabled other companies to enter the space and drive adoption of the core product. 

“We do see it as new and unique,” he said, which is why Federated wanted to use its know-how to prove out the concept.  

Federated Wireless’ list of customers reads like a who’s who in the wireless business. The logos of Verizon, T-Mobile, American Tower, Boingo and JMA Wireless are listed on a promotional slide deck, as well as Charter Communications, CenturyLink and Frontier, to name a few. The company said it has more than 31 customers offering commercial services and another 50 in development.

RELATED: Federated Wireless poised to hit ‘go’ for 20-plus customers

If measured starting back when the FCC gave the green light for Initial Commercial Deployments (ICD) in September, the growth chart would look like a hockey stick, Schaubach said. “We continue to be very pleased with the performance of our cloud platform,” which is above 'five nines' reliability and is probably running at 'six nines' today, he added.