Private LTE And 5G Infrastructure Market To Reach US$5.7 Billion In 2024


By James Blackman

So says International Data Corporation (IDC), forecasting the aggregated spending on radio access (RAN), core, and transport network infrastructure, in licensed, unlicensed, and shared spectrum.

Last week, Dubai-based market intelligence outfit SNS Telecom & IT said investments in shared and unlicensed LTE and 5G spectrum will hit US$4bn by 2024, led by activity around the CBRS scheme in the 3.5 GHz band in the US, Germany’s move to hive off spectrum at 3.7-3.8 GHz for industry, and the UK’s model for shared and local access across a number of bands.

The new IDC forecast is the company’s first about the private LTE and 5G infrastructure market, which itself shows the shifting landscape in the telecoms space, towards localised and open LTE and 5G infrastructure. It comes as most of the telecoms industry has put focus on private cellular as a major new area of business opportunity in the year ahead.

Business is being driven by late-period LTE technologies. IDC noted 5G is only being deployed, as yet, in “limited instances”.

It said private cellular is being deployed across vertical sectors for three essential purposes: for mission-critical, industrial, and traditional enterprise (or ‘business critical’) communications. It said enterprises deploying private LTE and 5G according to the first definition want ‘always-on’ connectivity, made possible with bespoke local installations and redundant back-up networks.

Enterprises deploying industrial-grade private networks are focused process and machine automation for Industry 4.0, and are mostly interested in ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), which will be rolled out with the Release 17 and 18 versions of the 5G NR standard, notably with the inclusion of time-sensitive networking (TSN).

Meanwhile, it said enterprises interested in bespoke private LTE and 5G for straight business comms want a level lower: “deterministic wireless networking beyond traditional Wi-Fi, but where redundancy and automation needs are lower,” it said. The point is, again, to bring greater assurance, alongside flexibility, to enterprise networking — “where loss of connectivity could result in loss of revenue”.

Senior research analyst for IoT and mobile network infrastructure, Patrick Filkins said: “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,”

“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.”

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