A recent Frost & Sullivan analysis revealed that organizations are using private 5G networks to improve the efficiency of their production processes as well as to ensure safety and security. The analysis, Global Private 5G Network Growth Opportunities, showed that combining 5G’s new power with the private 5G network concept can elevate enterprises to new heights.
Some enterprises have already started their private network with 4G. However, the possibilities that 5G can enable will likely entice these organizations to upgrade at some point, according to Frost & Sullivan. The developing global private cellular network market is expected to expand to $6.32 billion by 2026 from $1.83 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.1%. Private 5G networks’ contribution will be a key part of this total, reaching $5.05 billion during that forecast period from $600 million 2021, according to the analysis.
“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.
“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.”
Available spectrum is critical for any wireless technology. carriers have licensed a lot of the spectrum for private 5G networks, but not all of it, according to Frost & Sullivan. There are a few steps organizations must take to fully reap the benefits of private 5G networks. They must first begin working with local CSPs. Licensed spectrum is highly reliable and provides the highest quality of service. It’s also 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,” Frost & Sullivan said in its analysis. “Working with a CSP and their spectrum is often the best option.”
Organizations should also look to see if industry-licensed spectrum is available. There are currently parts of the world where governments are licensing spectrum directly to industry, which provides an alternative to CSP-licensed spectrum. Industry-licensed spectrum is also reliable and offers high quality of service, but is could be more cost effective.
Finally, for business issues that don’t involve safety, organizations could consider shared or unlicensed spectrum. Having licensed spectrum is a must for private 5G networks when solving mission-critical use cases, but it’s less essential for organizations addressing issues that don’t require the same level of reliability or quality of service.
Exploring this option opens the possibility of using a shared spectrum such as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the U.S. or unlicensed spectrum for private 5G networks, which could lower the overall cost.