Frost & Sullivan says organisations are embracing private 5G networks to improve the efficiency of production processes while ensuring safety and security. While some have started the private network journey with 4G, the possibilities enabled by 5G will entice most to upgrade over time.
The developing global private cellular network market will likely expand to $6.32 billion by 2026 from $1.83 billion in 2021 at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.1%. Of this total, the contribution of private 5G networks will be significant, reaching $5.05 billion over the forecast period from $600 million in 2021.
“Wi-Fi continues to be important to most enterprises, but private cellular networks cover use cases that Wi-Fi does not do well and, in many cases, can provide a better network for less,” said Troy Morley, ICT industry principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
“Private 4G networks improve on Wi-Fi, particularly around mobility, and private 5G networks improve on 4G, enabling higher throughput, higher connection densities, and lower latencies.”Troy Morley
He added to achieve an acceptable return on 5G investments, communication service providers (CSPs) must better serve customers outside of the consumer market.
“This may be with network slicing, edge networks, and/or private 5G networks,” he continued.
Spectrum is essential for any wireless technology, and for private 5G networks, much of the available spectrum is licensed by CSPs, but not all.
Must dos to reap the benefits of private 5G networks
Start by working with local CSPs. Licensed spectrum provides the highest reliability and quality of service (QoS); it is essential for mission-critical operations. CSP-licensed spectrum is available globally. For most enterprises willing to invest in a private 5G network, licensed spectrum is the only real choice. Working with a CSP and their spectrum is often the best option.
Investigate industry-licensed spectrum if it is available. In certain areas of the world, governments are licensing spectrum directly to industry, which provides an alternative to CSP-licensed spectrum. Industry-licensed spectrum provides the reliability and QoS needed but may cost less.
Solve business problems that don’t involve safety by considering shared or unlicensed spectrum. While licensed spectrum is essential when private 5G networks are solving mission-critical use cases, there are organisations looking to solve problems that do not require the same reliability or QoS. This opens the possibility of using shared spectrum (like CBRS in the United States) or even unlicensed spectrum for private 5G networks, which may reduce the overall cost. (Wi-Fi operates in unlicensed spectrum.)