Private cellular networks: opportunities, challenges and the future




The advantages of private cellular networks are well rehearsed – from data usage savings and enhanced traffic flow, to better control and information security. However, if these private networks are to make a significant impact on delivering LTE and 5G value to verticals, new routes to market and business models are essential. In this paper we outline the drivers, barriers, technologies and players in this rapidly evolving market.

Market context and outlook for enterprise and private cellular networks

Most enterprises and industries have aspirations to use cellular connectivity to make processes more digital and efficient, but too few can access networks that are fully reliable, let alone optimised for particular requirements such as low latency. Fewer than half of enterprises say that mobile quality of service is adequate, especially inside buildings, and only about 20% would trust cellular networks with critical communications.

A survey of 120 enterprises showed that, on average, the ability of current cellular networks to deliver the most valued connectivity services was rated between 1.2 and 5.4 on a scale of 1 to 10.

This situation has led to Wi-Fi being the technology of choice for enterprise, indoor and private networks, but a rising number of use cases could benefit from using cellular connectivity too – particularly any requiring security, broad coverage, low latency, high mobility and guaranteed quality of service. Those range from the familiar, such as high- quality voice, to the futuristic, such as dynamic mobile robotics.

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