Practical & Tangible Benefits of $3.5 Billion Private 5G Network Market Becoming Increasingly Evident, Says SNS Telecom & IT

1st May 2024: SNS Telecom & IT's latest research report indicates that the real-world impact of private 5G networks – which are estimated to account for $3.5 Billion in annual spending by 2027 – is becoming ever more visible, with diverse practical and tangible benefits such as productivity gains through reduced dependency on unlicensed wireless and hard-wired connections in industrial facilities, accident reduction by allowing workers to remotely operate cranes and mining equipment from a safer distance, and significant, quantifiable cost savings enabled by 5G-connected patrol robots and image analytics in Wagyu beef production.

Private LTE networks are a well-established market and have been around for more than a decade, albeit as a niche segment of the wider cellular infrastructure segment – iNET's (Infrastructure Networks) 700 MHz LTE network in the Permian Basin, Tampnet's offshore 4G infrastructure in the North Sea, Rio Tinto's private LTE network for its Western Australia mining operations and other initial installations date back to the early 2010s. However, in most national markets, private cellular networks or NPNs (Non-Public Networks) based on the 3GPP-defined 5G standard are just beginning to move beyond PoC (Proof-of-Concept) trials and small-scale deployments to production-grade implementations of standalone 5G networks, which are laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 and advanced application scenarios. 

Compared to LTE technology, private 5G networks – also referred to as 5G MPNs (Mobile Private Networks), 5G campus networks, local 5G or e-Um 5G systems depending on geography – can address far more demanding performance requirements in terms of throughput, latency, reliability, availability and connection density. In particular, 5G's URLLC (Ultra-Reliable, Low-Latency Communications) and mMTC (Massive Machine-Type Communications) capabilities, along with a future-proof transition path to 6G networks in the 2030s, have positioned it as a viable alternative to physically wired connections for industrial-grade communications between machines, robots and control systems. Furthermore, despite its relatively higher cost of ownership, 5G's wider coverage radius per radio node, scalability, determinism, security features and mobility support have stirred strong interest in its potential as a replacement for interference-prone unlicensed wireless technologies in IIoT (Industrial IoT) environments, where the number of connected sensors and other endpoints is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

It is worth noting that China is an outlier and the most mature national market thanks to state-funded directives aimed at accelerating the adoption of 5G connectivity in industrial settings such as factories, warehouses, mines, power plants, substations, oil and gas facilities and ports. To provide some context, the largest private 5G installations in China can comprise hundreds to even thousands of dedicated RAN (Radio Access Network) nodes supported by on-premise or edge cloud-based core network functions depending on specific latency, reliability and security requirements. For example, home appliance manufacturer Midea's Jingzhou industrial park hosts 2,500 indoor and outdoor 5G NR access points to connect workers, machines, robots and vehicles across an area of approximately 104 acres, steelmaker WISCO (Wuhan Iron & Steel Corporation) has installed a dual-layer private 5G network – spanning 85 multi-sector macrocells and 100 small cells – to remotely operate heavy machinery at its steel plant in Wuhan (Hubei), and Fujian-based manufacturer Wanhua Chemical has recently built a customized wireless network that will serve upwards of 8,000 5G RedCap (Reduced Capability) devices, primarily surveillance cameras and IoT sensors.

As end user organizations in the United States, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other countries ramp up their digitization and automation initiatives, private 5G networks are progressively being implemented to support use cases as diverse as wirelessly connected machinery for the rapid reconfiguration of production lines, distributed PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) environments, AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) and AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) for intralogistics, AR (Augmented Reality)-assisted guidance and troubleshooting, machine vision-based quality control, wireless software flashing of manufactured vehicles, remote-controlled cranes, unmanned mining equipment, BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight) operation of drones, digital twin models of complex industrial systems, ATO (Automatic Train Operation), video analytics for railway crossing and station platform safety, remote visual inspections of aircraft engine parts, real-time collaboration for flight line maintenance operations, XR (Extended Reality)-based military training, virtual visits for parents to see their infants in NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units), live broadcast production in locations not easily accessible by traditional solutions, operations-critical communications during major sporting events, and optimization of cattle fattening and breeding for Wagyu beef production.

Despite prolonged teething problems in the form of a lack of variety of non-smartphone devices, high 5G IoT module costs due to low shipment volumes, limited competence of end user organizations in cellular wireless systems and conservatism with regards to new technology, early adopters are affirming their faith in the long-term potential of private 5G by investing in networks built independently using new shared and local area licensed spectrum options, in collaboration with private network specialists or via traditional mobile operators. Some private 5G installations have progressed to a stage where practical and tangible benefits – particularly efficiency gains, cost savings and worker safety – are becoming increasingly evident. Notable examples include but are not limited to:

Some of the most technically advanced features of 5G Advanced – 5G's next evolutionarily phase – are also being trialed over private wireless installations. Among other examples, Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor is using an indoor 5G Advanced network for time-critical industrial control within a car roof production line as part of an effort to prevent wire abrasion in mobile application scenarios, which results in production interruptions with an average downtime of 60 hours a year.

In addition, against the backdrop of geopolitical trade tensions and sanctions that have restricted established telecommunications equipment suppliers from operating in specific countries, private 5G networks have emerged as a means to test domestically produced 5G network infrastructure products in controlled environments prior to large-scale deployments or vendor swaps across national or regional public mobile networks. For instance, Russian industrial groups are trialing private 5G networks in pilot zones within their production sites, using indigenously built 5G equipment operating in Band n79 (4.8-4.9 GHz) spectrum.

To capitalize on the long-term potential of private 5G, a number of new alternative suppliers have also developed 5G infrastructure offerings tailored to the specific needs of industrial applications. For example, satellite communications company Globalstar has launched a 3GPP Release 16-compliant multipoint terrestrial RAN system that is optimized for dense private wireless deployments in Industry 4.0 automation environments while German engineering conglomerate Siemens has developed an in-house private 5G network solution for use at its own plants as well as those of industrial customers.  

SNS Telecom & IT estimates that annual investments in private 5G networks for vertical industries will grow at a CAGR of approximately 42% between 2024 and 2027, eventually accounting for nearly $3.5 Billion by the end of 2027. Although much of this growth will be driven by highly localized 5G networks covering geographically limited areas for Industry 4.0 applications in manufacturing and process industries, sub-1 GHz wide area critical communications networks for public safety, utilities and railway communications are also anticipated to begin their transition from LTE, GSM-R and other legacy narrowband technologies to 5G towards the latter half of the forecast period, as 5G Advanced becomes a commercial reality. Among other features for mission-critical networks, 3GPP Release 18 – which defines the first set of 5G Advanced specifications – adds support for 5G NR equipment operating in dedicated spectrum with less than 5 MHz of bandwidth, paving the way for private 5G networks operating in sub-500 MHz, 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 900 MHz bands for public safety broadband, smart grid modernization and FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System).

The “Private 5G Networks: 2024 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report presents an in-depth assessment of the private 5G network market, including the value chain, market drivers, barriers to uptake, enabling technologies, operational and business models, vertical industries, application scenarios, key trends, future roadmap, standardization, spectrum availability and allocation, regulatory landscape, case studies, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents global and regional market size forecasts from 2024 to 2030. The forecasts cover three infrastructure submarkets, 16 vertical industries and five regional markets.

The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report, as well as a database of over 7,000 global private cellular engagements – including more than 2,200 private 5G installations – as of Q2’2024.

The key findings of the report include:

The report will be of value to current and future potential investors into the private 5G network market, as well as 5G equipment suppliers, system integrators, private network specialists, mobile operators and other ecosystem players who wish to broaden their knowledge of the ecosystem.

For further information concerning the SNS Telecom & IT publication “Private 5G Networks: 2024 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” please visit:

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About SNS Telecom & IT

SNS Telecom & IT is a global market intelligence and consulting firm with a primary focus on the telecommunications and information technology industries. Developed by in-house subject matter experts, our market intelligence and research reports provide unique insights on both established and emerging technologies. Our areas of coverage include but are not limited to 6G, 5G, LTE, Open RAN, vRAN (Virtualized RAN), small cells, mobile core, xHaul (Fronthaul, Midhaul & Backhaul transport), network automation, mobile operator services, FWA (Fixed Wireless Access), neutral host networks, private 4G/5G cellular networks, public safety broadband, critical communications, MCX (Mission-Critical PTT, Video & Data), IIoT (Industrial IoT), V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) communications and vertical applications.