Showing posts with label Private Networks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Private Networks. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Private 4G / 5G Cellular Networks and Bring Your Own Spectrum


With 4G maturing, private cellular networks are finally getting the attention that they deserve and has been promised for quite a while. In a Industry Analyst event, Nokia announced that they are running 120+ private networks including transportation, Energy, Public sector, Smart cities, manufacturing and logistics, etc. (tweet below). The Enterprise Business division is now accounting for 5% of the revenue.
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief at Light Reading, in an opinion on Telecoms.com pointed out:

One of the more immediate revenue stream opportunities right now is wireless private networks, and the good news is that this opportunity doesn’t require 5G. Instead, the potential looks set to be enhanced by the availability of a full set of 5G standards (including the yet-to-be concluded core network specs) and the maturity of associated technology.

In the meantime, 4G/LTE has already been the cellular foundation for an increasingly thriving wireless private networks sector that, according to ABI Research, will be worth $16.3 billion by 2025

Another market sizing prediction, this time by SNS Telecom & IT, pitches annual spending on private 4G and 5G networks at $4.7 billion by the end of 2020 and almost $8 billion by 2023. 

However this plays out, there’s clear anticipation of growing investment. What’s particularly interesting, though, is which organizations might pocket that investment. That’s because enterprises and/or organizations looking to benefit from having a private wireless network have a number of options once they decide to move ahead with a private network – here are three permutations that look most likely to me:
  1. Build and run it themselves – technology vendors get some sales in this instance
  2. Outsource the network planning, construction and possibly even the day-to-day. management of the network to a systems integrator (SI) – the SI and some vendors get the spoils. It’s possible here, of course, that the SI could be a technology vendor.
  3. Outsource to a mobile network operator – the operator and some vendors will get some greenbacks.
For sure there will be other permutations, but it shows how many different parts of the ecosystem have some skin in the game, which is what makes this sector so interesting.

What’s also interesting, of course, is what the enterprises do with their private networks: Does it enhance operations? Help reduce costs? Create new business opportunities? All of the above?

Let’s not forget the role of the regulators in all of this. In the US the private wireless sector has been given a shot in the arm by the availability of CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) shared spectrum in the currently unlicensed 3.5 GHz band: This has given rise to numerous trials and deployments in locations such as sports stadiums, Times Square and even prisons.

In Germany, the regulator has set aside 100MHz of 5G spectrum for private, industrial networks has caused a storm and even led to accusations from the mobile operators that the move ramped up the cost of licenses in the spectrum auction held earlier this year.

In the UK, Ofcom is making spectrum available in four bands:
  • the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz shared spectrum bands, which are currently used for mobile services;
  • the 3.8-4.2 GHz band, which supports 5G services, and
  • the 26 GHz band, which has also been identified as one of the main bands for 5G in the future.
Slide shared by Mansoor Hanif, CTO, Ofcom at TIP Summit 2019

The process to enable companies and organizations (Ofcom has identified manufacturers, business parks, holiday/theme parks and farms as potential users) in the UK to apply for spectrum will go live before the end of this year, with Ofcom believing that thousands of private networks could be up and running in the coming years.

Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis recently spoke about BYOSpectrum – Why private cellular is a game-changer at TAD Summit. The talk is embedded below and is definitely worth listening:



TelecomPaper reported:

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that companies can start to apply to use 5G frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz range on industrial campuses. Local frequencies enable firms to build their own private networks, rather than rely on telecommunications providers to build networks. 

The Automotive Industry Association (VDA) and other industry associations including the VCI, VDMA and ZVEI have welcomed the allocation of frequencies for industrial campuses. According to VDA, several dozen companies have already registered their interest in such frequencies with the Federal Network Agency. 

The firms believe that 5G can replace existing networks, including WLAN, provide improved coverage of entire company premises, enable full control over company data and reduce disruption to public mobile networks.

The spectrum licences will be allocated based on the applicant's geographic footprint and use of a certain area. Prices also take account the area covered by the network, as well as the amount of bandwidth used and duration of the licence.

The formula for the prices is very interesting as shown in the tweet below



In Japan, NTT Docomo is working in co-operation with industry partners to help them to create their own private 5G networks. More announcements on this are expected at MWC next year.



Finally, I am running an Introduction to Private 4G /5G Networks Workshop with Dean Bubley on 04 Feb 2020. If this is an area of interest, consider attending it.



Related Posts:

Monday, 6 May 2019

Non-public networks (NPN) - Private Networks by another name


3GPP TS 22.261, Service requirements for the 5G system; Stage 1 gives a definition of non-public network which is simply defined as 'a network that is intended for non-public use'. Section 6.25 provides more info

Non-public networks are intended for the sole use of a private entity such as an enterprise, and may be deployed in a variety of configurations, utilising both virtual and physical elements. Specifically, they may be deployed as completely standalone networks, they may be hosted by a PLMN, or they may be offered as a slice of a PLMN.

In any of these deployment options, it is expected that unauthorised UEs, those that are not associated with the enterprise, will not attempt to access the non-public network, which could result in resources being used to reject that UE and thereby not be available for the UEs of the enterprise. It is also expected that UEs of the enterprise will not attempt to access a network they are not authorised to access. For example, some enterprise UEs may be restricted to only access the non-public network of the enterprise, even if PLMN coverage is available in the same geographic area. Other enterprise UEs may be able to access both a non-public network and a PLMN where specifically allowed.

The requirements section is interesting too:
  • The 5G system shall support non-public networks.
  • The 5G system shall support non-public networks that provide coverage within a specific geographic area.
  • The 5G system shall support both physical and virtual non-public networks. 
  • The 5G system shall support standalone operation of a non-public network, i.e. a non-public network may be able to operate without dependency on a PLMN.
  • Subject to an agreement between the operators and service providers, operator policies and the regional or national regulatory requirements, the 5G system shall support for non-public network subscribers:
    • access to subscribed PLMN services via the non-public network;
    • seamless service continuity for subscribed PLMN services between a non-public network and a PLMN;
    • access to selected non-public network services via a PLMN;
    • seamless service continuity for non-public network services between a non-public network and a PLMN.
  • A non-public network subscriber to access a PLMN service shall have a service subscription using 3GPP identifiers and credentials provided or accepted by a PLMN.
  • The 5G system shall support a mechanism for a UE to identify and select a non-public network.
    • NOTE: Different network selection mechanisms may be used for physical vs virtual non-public networks.
  • The 5G system shall support identifiers for a large number of non-public networks to minimize collision likelihood between assigned identifiers.
  • The 5G system shall support a mechanism to prevent a UE with a subscription to a non-public network from automatically selecting and attaching to a PLMN or non-public network it is not authorised to select.
  • The 5G system shall support a mechanism to prevent a UE with a subscription to a PLMN from automatically selecting and attaching to a non-public network it is not authorised to select. 
  • The 5G system shall support a change of host of a non-public network from one PLMN to another PLMN without changing the network selection information stored in the UEs of the non-public network.


5G ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation), a Working Party of ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association) published a White Paper on '5G Non-Public Networks for Industrial Scenarios'.

This paper describes four industrial (IIoT) deployment scenarios for 3GPP-defined 5G non-public networks. The paper also considers key aspects, in particular service attributes that can help to highlight the differences between these scenarios. In contrast to a network that offers mobile network services to the general public, a 5G non-public network (NPN, also sometimes called a private network) provides 5G network services to a clearly defined user organisation or group of organisations.

The PDF of the white paper is available here.