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Half of CIOs plan private 5G network within next two years

Manufacturing industry
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More than half of CIOs (51%) surveyed in a new report say they plan to deploy a private 5G network (opens in new tab) within the next two years, while 24% have already done so.

A private 5G network is one that provides dedicated access to a specific customer, using either licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrum, with no resources shared by any third party.

By pursuing this route, customers can define the scale, pace of rollout, and technology used, while guaranteeing a certain level of performance for their applications.

Private 5G networks

Although many businesses have deployed private 4G networks, the ultrafast speeds, greater capacity, and ultra-low latency mean mission-critical business applications can be powered by a mobile network for the first time.

Such qualities will also pave the way for the creation of new, revolutionary use cases. These include the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics and Mixed Reality, all of which require reliable, real-time transmission of data.

Indeed, 81% of CIOs who responded to NTT’s survey said these characteristics were a key driver of adoption and four fifths said the pandemic has made it easier to secure budget for private 5G networks because of the increasing importance of digital technologies to business strategy.

“The research highlights that the adoption of private 5G is happening now,” said Shahid Ahmed, head of New Ventures and Innovation at NTT.

“The companies leveraging private 5G will have an unprecedented competitive advantage. Whether a company owns a factory floor, distribution centres, storefront, or office space, private 5G can dramatically help digitize their businesses securely.”

Security and privacy are also important, with respondents valuing the additional protections afforded by cellular connectivity when compared to Wi-Fi. Such considerations will become more common as organisations connect more of their mission critical applications and systems.

However, the most common barrier to private 5G adoption is integration with legacy systems, the complexities associated with network management and a lack of technical skills.

Nearly four fifths (38%) said they would prefer to outsource deployment to a managed service provider (MSP) to alleviate these issues. Private 5G can be built with or without the assistance of an operator and IDC predicts Demand for private cellular networking equipment to support mission critical applications will see the market reach $5.7 billion by 2024.

Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.