Deploying a private network is emerging as a key way for enterprises and industrial users to exploit advanced 5G capabilities and features.
The major 5G mobile network operators (MNOs) are currently focusing on applications based on consumer-oriented mobile broadband (MBB) services. However, the 5G standards are designed to support a variety of other applications. For example, the same technology that is used in major 5G mobile networks can be tailored to be used in private LTE/5G networks that address the complex and highly bespoke nature of the 5G services that enterprises and a range of sectors might be interested in.
In this article, we use this data to illustrate the trends in the use of private LTE networks and private 5G networks and explain these trends in terms of new 5G standards and spectrum availability.
What are private LTE/5G networks?
A private LTE/5G network is a cellular network that is built specifically for an individual enterprise. Such networks are most commonly deployed on a single site (for example, in a factory or a mine). Private LTE/5G networks can also be deployed to address wide-area network requirements such as a utility’s need to monitor a transmission network. Private LTE/5G networks differ from public mobile networks; the latter are typically currently designed to support the wide-area network requirements of the consumer smartphone market.
There are several deployment models that can be used for private LTE/5G networks. Some of the key differences between these models are the type of spectrum used, the core network architecture, and how the network is deployed (for example, by an MNO, specialist company, equipment vendor, system integrator, or the user itself).
Private LTE/5G networks are often used to connect a diverse range of device types. Private 5G networks in particular are being used to wirelessly connect a large number of sensors and different device types and to provide wireless connections with performance that is comparable to that from fixed cabling. This is needed to maintain the high reliability and low latency that is required for real-time data analytics, image analysis, and control-type applications.
The main users of private LTE networks are different from those of private 5G networks
Our latest data indicates that a growing variety of applications and sectors are using private networks. A wider range of vertical markets are using LTE-based private networks than 5G-based networks, largely because LTE technology has been available for longer (see Figures 1 and 2).
Figure 1: Users of LTE-based private networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021.
Figure 2: Users of 5G-based private networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021.
Nearly half of the 5G private networks that are currently listed in our tracker are deployed in factories. LTE-based private network use is more fragmented; the main users include factories, ports, and mines.
5G networks support more-advanced applications than LTE networks
LTE-based private networks have mostly been used for MBB connectivity (for example, mobile workforce), industrial equipment connectivity, and asset tracking, as shown in Figure 3. Private 5G networks are also being used for industrial equipment connectivity and asset tracking but are additionally used in automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) (see Figure 4). These applications use 5G’s low-latency capabilities to enable real-time data capture, real-time process analysis, and intelligent maintenance. Advanced applications can also make use of the new spectrum that is available for 5G networks, which has wider contiguous channels and advanced antenna systems to provide the additional capacity and network performance needed for the most demanding applications.
Figure 3: Applications most commonly supported by LTE-based private networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021.
Figure 4: Applications most commonly supported by 5G-based private networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021.
New spectrum is enabling additional use cases for private 5G networks
Analysys Mason’s Private LTE/5G networks tracker indicates that private LTE/5G networks use either licensed mobile spectrum, shared access spectrum (such as CBRS spectrum in the USA), or local access licenses. The latter is becoming more prevalent with 5G now that specific bands for local 5G use have been made available in several markets. These bands vary between different countries, but prominent examples include the 3.7–3.8 GHz band in Germany, the 3.8–4.2 GHz band in the UK and the 2570–2620 MHz band in France.1 CBRS spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band has been available for some time in the USA for use in both LTE and 5G private networks on a shared access basis.
Most of the systems listed in Analysys Mason’s tracker are still reported to be using licensed mobile spectrum (that is, spectrum licensed to MNOs). However, a growing number of private 5G networks are making use of locally licensed spectrum that regulators have made available to support private network deployments (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Type of spectrum used in private LTE/5G networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021.
The bands that are typically used vary depending on the market in question. The most commonly used bands for LTE-based and 5G-based private networks are shown below.
|Europe||2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz||3.7–3.8 GHz and 3.8–4.2 GHz|
|Americas||3.5 GHz (CBRS)||3.5 GHz and mmWave|
|Asia–Pacific||1800 MHz||28 GHz|
One benefit of the new 5G spectrum is that it is better-suited to low-latency applications that need wider channels. This means that more-demanding factory-based applications could be delivered over wireless 5G links instead of fixed cabling. The use of wireless technology may provide a range of benefits to users, such as greater scalability and flexibility to move or reconfigure machinery without the constraints of wired connections. These wider channels are principally available in spectrum bands in the 3.4 – 4.2 GHz frequency range and are not available within the bands most commonly used for private LTE networks, such as 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz.
MNOs are increasingly getting involved with private network deployments
MNOs are increasingly getting involved with the deployment of private 5G networks (either as network providers or delivery partners) due to the complexity of 5G technology and the demanding factory and industrial applications that 5G is being used to support. Indeed, for private LTE networks, the majority of systems are managed by network equipment providers (NEPs), whereas there is an equal split between the share of systems managed by NEPs and those managed by MNOs for private 5G networks (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Providers for private LTE and 5G networks, worldwide, from data published in June 2021
1 The European 5G Observatory provides further details on the various approaches to private 5G network spectrum in Europe. European 5G Observatory (2020), 5G private licenses spectrum in
Janette Stewart is one of Analysys Mason’s senior spectrum experts, with 25 years of experience in radio engineering, wireless technologies, spectrum policy, and spectrum management. Janette joined Analysys Mason in 2001, having previously worked for the UK Radiocommunications Agency (now Ofcom). Janette’s expertise lies in mobile, wireless, and broadband technologies and markets and her consulting experience includes advising on market developments in the wireless sector, wireless technology evolution, wireless business modeling, spectrum valuation, spectrum strategy, competition, and regulation issues in the wireless market. She holds a BEng in Electronic Engineering from the University of Edinburgh, and an MSc in Radio Communications from the University of Bradford.
Michele MacKenzie is an analyst for Analysys Mason’s IoT and M2M Services research program, with responsibility for M2M and LPWA forecasts. She has over 20 years of experience as an analyst and researches IoT verticals such as utilities, automotive, healthcare, fleet management, and the industrial IoT. She also writes reports on the role of network technologies such as NB-IoT and 5G. Michele leads Analysys Mason’s research on private LTE/5G networks and has produced reports on the competitive landscape and network deployment models, as well as a forecast of network spending on private LTE/5G. Prior to joining Analysys Mason in February 2014, Michele was a freelance analyst with a focus on M2M and IoT technology and trends.
Ibraheem is a member of the Operator Business Services and IoT research team in London and contributes to the IoT and M2M Services and Private Networks research programs. He has written on topics including private LTE/5G networks, IoT eSIMs and iSIMs, and LPWA networks, and has researched IoT verticals such as smart metering and smart buildings. Ibraheem holds a BSc in economics from the University of Warwick and wrote his dissertation on the impact of technology on sleep.
Anterix has taken a step toward facilitating and accelerating the delivery, deployment and application of transformative private broadband for the U.S. electric grid. Anterix has been joined by 37 technology companies to launch the Anterix Active Ecosystem Program. This launch, combined with the 11 FCC-granted experimental licenses at 900 MHz and contracts signed with Ameren and San Diego Gas & Electric, highlight the growing utility industry momentum toward deploying private LTE at 900 MHz.
The Anterix Active Ecosystem Program will foster, strengthen and expand the landscape of 900 MHz devices, services and solutions. Participation from a broad range of technology innovators will bring extensive value to utilities and other critical infrastructure providers that deploy private LTE at 900 MHz. Members will share technical insights, advance solutions for 900 MHz private LTE and collaborate on opportunities to support the utility sector. Those with 900 MHz certified devices and commercial solutions will be recognized with the Anterix Active badge.
“We’ve regularly talked about the scale and scope benefits to the utility sector of collective action at 900 MHz,” said Anterix president and CEO Rob Schwartz. “The launch of this program is key to driving those benefits, and it highlights what we view as momentum toward private LTE throughout the entire utility ecosystem. Our Anterix Active Ecosystem Program will provide members with the collaborative environment needed to further develop secure and resilient private wireless broadband solutions, fully under the utility’s control, to address current and future energy needs.”
Communication Technology Services, a provider of in-building and campus wireless solutions, has acquired ClearSky Technologies, based out of Orlando, Florida.
ClearSky offers managed services that enable the planning, deploying, and managing of wireless communications and was an early entrant into the private wireless network space with a number of deployments in industries such as warehousing and hospitality.
The acquisition provides Communication Technology Services with foundation of network solutions and expertise that is critical to the deployment of private LTE and 5G networks.
In addition, ClearSky’s Forte product provides a ability to accelerate the integration of DAS deployments into carrier networks.
“ClearSky’s managed services portfolio coupled with CTS’ national scale and long history of engineering, designing, constructing and servicing in-building wireless networks positions us to provide a valuable and inclusive suite of services to the private wireless network marketplace,” said CTS CEO John Tegan, III.
The wireless industry is seeing two significant shifts – the need for greater indoor cellular coverage for mission critical applications and the ability for enterprises to deploy their own private LTE and 5G networks. ClearSky’s unique managed service solutions coupled with CTS’ world class wireless network design and construction capabilities makes it possible for CTS to bring both public and private wireless services into any building in the U.S.
“The ClearSky team is very excited to join the CTS family. Combining ClearSky’s product offerings with CTS’ nationwide footprint and deployment expertise will give us a massive competitive advantage in the emerging private wireless network markets,” said ClearSky Chief Executive Officer Mike Roudi. Mike will join the CTS management team and lead its managed services business.
Back in 1995 when the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe first opened the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, Washington few people had cell phones and customers used pay phones to make calls from the casino. Times have definitely changed. Today, tech-savvy customers from the Seattle area always want to be connected. This is a problem for the casino resort that currently has limited wireless coverage.
For the 7 Cedars Casino, the timing of the FCC recent approval of the deployment of Citizens Band Radio Services (CBRS) was perfect. Concurrently with the FCC announcement, 7 Cedars signed a contract with Geoverse for a Private LTE solution for the casino, three restaurants and the new $40 million luxury hotel that will open in May 2020. The network will provide up to 5-bars of connectivity and support a wide range of new applications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
“Geoverse has extensive industry experience installing and maintaining carrier-grade wireless networks,” says Glenn Smithson, General Manager of 7 Cedars Casino. “They also understand our vision of providing personalized services focused on improving the end-to-end customer experience. Our customers will be connected to guest services via iPads provided in their rooms or by using apps on their own devices. We will offer services such as digital reservations, mobile check-in, wireless keys using the customers’ own cell phone and a personal mobile concierge in addition to ubiquitous wireless service throughout the casino and hotel. Our goal is to provide the best guest experience in the Olympic Peninsula and the Geoverse solution is key to our strategy.”
Geoverse is a licensed mobile network operator that is creating and managing the end-to-end Private LTE solution for 7 Cedars Casino. The solution provides highly reliable and secure communication services as well as robust application capabilities for online gaming, smart building applications and IoT devices. Geoverse also has the scalability and flexibility to expand as new buildings are added and to upgrade to next generation functionality such as 5G.
“7 Cedars Casino is a forward-thinking, innovative organization that has a 25-year track record of embracing change to enhance its customer experience and optimize its business, says Rod Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Geoverse. “Many companies take a wait and see attitude towards new opportunities or technologies but not 7 Cedars. They understand their customers and jumped at the opportunity to provide carrier-grade wireless service in their casino and restaurants. And next summer they are adding an entirely new customer experience with the opening of their luxury hotel.”
The Besen Group, a Washington, DC-based international mobile data industry management consulting practice, has launched a Private LTE seminar.
The Besen Group estimates that the U.S. private LTE market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent between 2019 and 2023 due to the availability of new licensed spectrum, shared spectrum and unlicensed spectrum bands. This growth accounts for more than $3 Billion by the end of 2023.
The Besen Group defines private LTE as a dedicated network for consumers, businesses, and Internet of Things. Private LTE network can be based on licensed, unlicensed, and shared spectrum.
Session I: Private LTE Fundamentals
Private LTE Business Models
– Identifying private LTE business models and available spectrum options
– Determining key advantages of private LTE networks over Wi-Fi networks
– Evaluating EPC vendors, small cell vendors and managed service providers
Private LTE Network Technical Architecture
– Defining the role of Radio Access Network (RAN) and Evolved Packet Core (EPC)
– Establishing the integration of EPC with current enterprise management systems
– Configuring private LTE network as neutral host for public LTE networks
Mobile Edge Computing & Network Slicing
– Developing mobile edge computing architecture that enables low-latency and efficient use of servers
– Designing flexible and adaptable mobile edge computing applications at the network edge
– Creating step-by-step network slice to generate new revenue generating services
– Configuring business support systems to support network slicing and new services
Private LTE Business Plan
– Performing market and competitive analysis
– Determining optimal go-to-market strategy and a comprehensive business plan with financial indicators
– Developing RFI/RFP to selected partners and vendors based on the SWOT analysis and pricing proposals
– Determining in-house processes, designing implementation roadmap and system integration architecture
Session II: Private LTE Use Cases
Transportation & Racetrack: Airbus, Fedex, ISM Raceway, UPS
Airport & Commercial Real Estate & Drone: Dallas Love Field, CBRE, GE
Cable Operator: Altice, Comcast, Charter
Public Safety: BDBOS, ESPOS, FirstNet
Energy & Oil & Gas: Beach Energy, Chevron, Enel, Duke Energy, RigNet
Hotel & Venues: Hyatt, Marriott, NFL, DC United Stadium, University of Virginia
Theme Park & Sports Organizer: Walt Disney World Resort, PGA Tour
Mining: Agnico Eagles Mines, Rio Tinto
Manufacturing: BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen
Smart Cities & Smart Ports: San Jose, San Francisco, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Kokkola
Workshop I: Private LTE Business Plan Strategy
Workshop II: Private LTE Business Case Development
For more information, please send an email to [email protected] or download the brochure: www.thebesengroup.com/downloads/Private.LTE.Seminar.pdf