The total addressable market for private networks is forecast to grow from $3.7 billion in 2021 to more than $109 billion in 2030, a CAGR of 44 percent. Per the GSA, the percentage of 5G or 4G/5G private networks has gone from 25 percent of the installed base to 33 percent from November 2021 to January 2022, highlighting the increased number of 5G networks being deployed.
I had a conversation recently with Roy Timor-Rousso, Chief Marketing Officer at Pente Networks. He specializes in enterprise solutions and has led marketing and business development efforts at many tech companies, including NEC, Nuance, Ribbon, Fring, and Mavenir. Here are a few key observations from our conversation.
Private is Easier to Deploy than Wi-Fi
Everyone thinks setting up Wi-Fi is simple and can be in a small place like a house. But it’s a different story in a big place, like a factory or an airport. A chemical factory in the desert—a harsh environment—needed to stretch Wi-Fi to several square kilometers. They tried using industry-grade Wi-Fi and stuck a pole every 300 meters. The problem was that they had to constantly maintain those Wi-Fi posts because of the severe temperatures, wind, and salt that were present. To remedy this, our company replaced the 25 Wi-Fi antennas with a single private cellular antenna, which worked out much better.
Timor-Rousso also told of a U.S. airport where their company replaced 200 Wi-Fi routers with seven cellular antennas, resulting in more reliable connectivity and less footprint. He also mentioned a school district in Dallas, TX, and a college campus in Washington, that went the CBRS route, resulting in less footprint, better security, guaranteed quality of service, and better total cost of ownership.
Private Wireless Much More 4G Than 5G
Roughly 95 percent of the use cases in the market now are 4G. That makes sense, as commercially, they are 4G because the cost of 4G equipment is very competitive and benchmarks against industry Wi-Fi versus 5G equipment, which is very expensive compared to 4G and Wi-Fi. There is equipment there, from CPEs from Cradlepoint and radios from Mavenir, Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, Airspan, and whoever. There is also equipment there for 5G, but they’re still expensive. Timor-Rousso expects that in the next 18 months, we’ll see those prices decrease considerably to make it much more accessible and affordable for enterprises, not just for carriers.
Private Can Be Less Expensive than Wi-Fi
Private wireless can be less expensive to deploy than Wi-Fi, depending on the circumstances. For example, the factory in the desert, with many Wi-Fi poles and routers, or a school district lying out fiber that will take ages and cost millions. The main elements that will help drive down costs include the number of antennas, the need to pave the ground to do construction, and the need for quality of service. These consist of, among other things, the size of the footprint, how much cabling, whether contractors need to build more tunnels, and how much it will cost to maintain.
“For Me, It’s Black Magic”
Our company deployed in Napa Valley for an 80-year-old farmer in the vineyards. He had a private CBRS network with IoT sensors installed for watering the fields. He was used to driving hours every day to decide if the fields needed to be irrigated. After our deployment, he now had sensors and connectivity, which made him very happy. He said, “For me, it’s black magic. I don’t really care how that works, but all I know is I don’t need to drive around the fields for two hours a day.”
At the end of the day, as Timor-Rousso has shared, that’s what it is all about. A private network needs to provide for your business’s needs, have it at a cost that makes sense to you, and offer you value-added services. That’s it.
To learn more about 5G and private networks, listen to the podcast hosted by Ashish Jain, CEO and Co-founder, PrivateLTEand5G.com and KAIROS Pulse. Our podcast guest is Roy Timor-Rousso, the Chief Marketing Officer at Pente Networks.
Listen to the podcast here: