The Private Networks Forum will take place (virtually) next week with an interesting question to be discussed: Are private networks the key to driving enterprises into the Industry 4.0 era? Underlying this question is the widespread belief that private networks will be one of the drivers for 5G - and vice versa.
At Telecom26, we are frequently asked by customers and prospects, who want to ensure that they are maximising their global mobile connectivity service, if they should be thinking about a private network, 5G or otherwise. In this blog we discuss the projected size of the 5G market, applications for these networks and why there’s no rush to deploy a private 5G network.
Research published last year by ABI forecasts that “private cellular network deployments within the enterprise domain will generate equipment revenues of >US$64 billion by 2030” and “the immense appetite for private networks in the enterprise domain keeps rising and rising”.
But why would a company take the time and trouble to acquire a licence, plan, build and maintain its own private 5G network when it could continue buying connectivity from an operator?
A few answers are provided in this piece on NEC’s website:“…for some companies there is a growing business to deploy private networks due to the unique features that such networks offer. For example, private 5G networks offer considerably more robust security offerings as they need not be connected to the larger telecom network, and hence are attractive to companies with very high security requirements such as power plants. Private 5G networks are also
- highly customizable and hence can be built to exact company specifications as opposed to having to select from telco offerings, and
- data can be managed and analyzed internally.
Given that overall 5G rollouts will take time to offer truly nationwide service, especially indoors, private networks can also deliver robust connectivity now meaning customers will no longer have to wait”.
Early adopters of private 5G networks
NEC has helpfully shared numerous case studies including Mercedes-Benz and the Port of Antwerp which certainly fit the early adopter profile laid out by ABI with “the financial resources and the necessary manpower to manage and operate a cellular network on their own”.
However, “enterprises with annual revenues below US$1 billion do not have the resources nor capabilities to do so”.
Enterprises, 5G, private networks and your global mobile connectivity service
However, beyond the huge enterprises which are early adopters of 5G networks, the message is clear and in the words of Francis Haysom, principal analyst at Appledore Research, “What do enterprises really think of 5G? Frankly, we hear, they don’t give a damn”...it’s just another technology.
Indeed ABI’s survey of industrial manufacturers across key markets in Europe, North America, and APAC found that “3 out of 5 manufacturers would prefer their private network to be managed & operated by a third party”.
Telecom26 - our private and public network offerings
At Telecom26 our message is also clear: LTE will be the dominant cellular technology for some time to come. What most enterprises really need isn’t the latest 5G. They need solutions that meet their current needs – and which can evolve over time. Secure, controlled and reliable comms is what most enterprises want and need - and we provide seamless access for mobile users from public to private networks, protecting assets while delivering a better user experience. And, perhaps all that the cellphones of your employees and IoT devices really need is a Private APN.
- 5G is the future, for sure, but LTE is here and will remain hugely significant for many years. Don’t be sidetracked.
- Don’t be oversold when looking for a private network solution.
- Make sure you really understand what LTE can do, because it’s probably what you need.
- Ensure you have an evolution path, so you can transition when you really need to, not when the media tells you.
- Work with a partner that actually understands the performance you require (because they understand what you are really trying to do) – and how to deliver it.
At Telecom26, we offer a full range of connectivity options including 5G, LTE, WiFi, IoT, private networks, 2G, 3G and 4G, as well as offshore connectivity capabilities. We also work with system integrators and solution vendors to provide a complete, bespoke solution, delivering the connectivity that our customers actually need. So please Get in touch to find out how Telecom26 can help improve connectivity for your team, wherever they are in the world.