Say 5G and typically the discussion veers towards network operators providing 5G services. A private 5G network is a local network possibly independently designed and manage by a company for its own use.
Commercial use cases
While public 5G deployment is still very nascent, enterprises are looking to develop and deploy private 5G for specific use cases such as in the safety and security industries. Industrial and manufacturing facilities that rely heavily on IoT connected devices are central to business operations.
IDC says private LTE/5G infrastructure is any 3GPP-based LTE and/or 5G network deployed for a specific enterprise/industrial customer that provides dedicated access. It includes networks that may utilize dedicated (licensed, unlicensed, or shared) spectrum, dedicated infrastructure, and private devices embedded with unique SIM identifiers.
Why Private 5G
Private LTE/5G infrastructure carries traffic native to a specific organization, with no shared resources in use by any third-party entities.
Worldwide revenue attributable to the sales of private LTE/5G infrastructure will grow from $945 million in 2019 to an estimated $5.7 billion in 2024 with a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.4%. This includes aggregated spending on RAN, core, and transport infrastructure.
"Private LTE infrastructure is already used by select verticals worldwide to solve mission-critical networking challenges. However, the barrier to consumption has remained high, limiting adoption to organizations possessing in-house competency and access to dedicated spectrum," said Patrick Filkins, senior research analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure.
He added that with more spectrum being made available for enterprise uses, coinciding with the arrival of commercial 5G, interest has grown toward using private LTE/5G solutions as a basis for connectivity across a multitude of mission-critical, industrial and traditional enterprise organizations.
Many organizations are deploying private LTE today, and a select few are beginning to deploy private 5G in limited instances.
While many of these verticals overlap in both use case and network needs, the market opportunity can be categorized in three segments:
- Mission-critical: Verticals that require "always on" connectivity addressable through redundancy and dedicated resource, as well as the clear need or desire for mobile site connectivity. Loss of connectivity would likely result in significant negative business or operational outcomes.
- Industrial: Verticals whose primary focus is process and industrial automation for Industry 4.0. It also generally involves providing high-capacity and ultra-reliable low-latency communication (5G URLLC) either with time-sensitive networking (TSN), or as an alternative.
- Traditional enterprise or "Business-Critical": These are verticals that require deterministic wireless networking beyond traditional Wi-Fi, but where redundancy and automation needs are lower. These include "business critical" applications, where loss of connectivity could result in loss of revenue.