Verizon Wireless is expanding its Private IP services for businesses, by combining it with its 4G LTE network. The company said the new offering will provide a widely available, highly secure, broadband platform for companies.

The new Private IP Wireless, available from Verizon's Enterprise Solutions division, is targeting the delivery of corporate access and applications to mobile workers, and is intended to support the growing needs of machine-to-machine communication. Targeted markets include health care, energy, and public safety systems.

'New Connected Enterprise'

Kerry Bailey, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Enterprise Solutions, said in a statement that the "new connected enterprise" could use the Private IP services as a "reliable backup solution for ATMs or as a primary network solution for mobile video collaboration."

Verizon said it was working with strategic partners to develop industry-specific applications for machine-to-machine communications, also described as the "Internet of things."

The company pointed to possibilities in the transportation sector, where its private network can help trains run safely and maintain their schedules with minimal human oversight, or where cars can become traveling communications centers for their occupants.

In the media and entertainment industries, broadband private network apps include what the company described simply as "new remote broadcasting opportunities," as well as a new era of connected and engaging digital signage.

Retailer applications include functioning as transactional support and as a backup for distributed locations. For companies with vending machines, the machines could use the Private IP network to alert distributors when they're out of products, as well as transmit data about customers' choices.

'Backup, Not as a Primary Service'

Current Analysis' Larry Hettick said he expected businesses would look to the Private IP wireless service "as a backup, not as a primary service," primarily because of the cost structure.

He also noted that this kind of service will help to accelerate the "bring your own device" trend, where employees bring their own smartphones or tablets to work. Hettick pointed out that a private IP network is generally more secure than encrypted transmissions over the public Internet.

Verizon's Private IP Wireless service began in January, and is currently used by a couple of dozen businesses. Previously, it had been available over the carrier's older EVDO network, which is about one-tenth the speed of LTE. Subscribing customers will have their communications routed through an enterprise gateway, where it is encoded and channeled separately from public Net communications. Encryption of the data is also available.

On Thursday, Verizon will be expanding its 4G LTE network to 27 more cities in the U.S., bringing the total to about 230 metropolitan areas and providing coverage for about two-thirds of the population. Verizon, which now offers nearly two dozen LTE-capable devices, has said that its LTE speeds average up to 12 Mbps downstream and as much as 5 Mbps up.

By comparison, AT&T has LTE in 38 markets and Sprint is expecting to cover six cities in the next couple of months.