Private mobile Networks December 2020: Global Update
End November 2020
The demand for private mobile networks based on LTE (and increasingly 5G) technologies is being driven by the spiralling data, security, digitisation and enterprise mobility requirements of modern business and government entities. Organisations of all types are combining connected systems with big data and analytics to transform operations, increase automation and efficiency or to deliver new services to their users. Wireless networking with LTE or 5G enables these transformations to take place even in dynamic, remote or highly secure environments, while offering the scale benefits of a technology that has already been deployed worldwide.
The arrival of LTE-Advanced systems delivered a step change in network capacity and throughput, while 5G networks have brought improved density (support for larger numbers of users or devices), even greater capacity, as well as dramatic improvements to latency that enable use of mobile technology for time-critical applications.
In addition to companies looking to develop their own private mobile networks for the first time, there is a large base of potential customers who currently operate LMR/PMR private networks based on technologies such as TETRA, P25 and DMR. These customers are demanding critical broadband services that are simply not available from alternative technologies and consequently, private mobile networks based on LTE and 5G have the potential to eventually replace much of this market.
The exact number of existing private mobile network deployments is hard to determine, as details are not often made public. Excluding the companies holding CBRS PAL licences in the USA (except those known to be undertaking private rather than public mobile network projects using the spectrum), available data suggests that over 500 companies have been or are investing in private mobile networks based in LTE or 5G, in the form of trials and pilot deployments, commercial network launches or investment in licences that would enable deployment of private LTE or 5G networks. This is likely to be a substantial underestimate of the overall global market.
GSA has identified 37 countries/territories with private network deployments based on LTE or 5G or LTE or 5G-suitable private network spectrum licences. In addition, there are private mobile network installations in various offshore locations serving the oil and gas industries, as well as on ships.
In order to improve information about this market, GSA is now maintaining a database of private LTE and 5G networks and spectrum worldwide. The database catalogues specific information about 259 companies known to be deploying LTE or 5G private mobile networks, or known to have been granted a licence suitable for the deployment of a private LTE or 5G network (but excluding those that have deployed alternative technologies), to enable analysis about the evolution of the market and is being added to on an ongoing basis. This report is the fourth in a series tracking the evolution of this sector of the industry and includes a data annex for GSA Members.
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