The private cellular networking opportunity matrix

STL Partners represents the private networking opportunity across two dimensions: level of stakeholder alignment vs. degree of cellularity. With the aim of helping others evaluate the extent to which they can take advantage of private cellular networks, we identified 4 archetype situations below for deploying private 4G or 5G.

Segment 1: The sweet spot for private LTE and 5G networks

Private networking opportunities should be strongest when there is both a strong need for cellular networking characteristics and high stakeholder alignment. The strong need for cellularity is why we see the majority of live deployments today (not only trials) focused in industries such as oil and gas, mining and ports where there is a clear need for outdoor coverage, coverage from 100m to several km range and/or support for mobility use cases.

Segment 2: Value constrained by internal challenges

The potential value and return on investment (ROI) of a private cellular network are constrained by the number of use cases and applications it can support and your ability to implement these. Both ultimately depend on internal alignment of application owners and other stakeholders, which can be challenging for certain organisations. This can derail a potential private cellular deployment, even when there is a clear business and technical need for one.


See how STL can help you capitalise on the private networks opportunity

Develop a rich understanding of the private networks opportunity with our new research service. Book your demo today.

Book a demo

Segment 3: Wider role of connectivity as an enabler

Many enterprise projects and transformations have heterogenous connectivity needs. We see private cellular as an important part of the toolkit, but it should be viewed within a boarder context and strategy rather than an end in itself. Each tool has its own unique capabilities and benefits but enterprises should think about how they can simplify their toolkit and select key tools that can help them address the majority of their current and future needs.

Segment 4: The battle of connectivity solutions

The advantage of deploying a private network is rarely clear-cut. It will be more difficult to justify the private cellular business case where its enhanced capabilities are seen as more of a “nice to have”, especially when there is a higher CapEx or OpEx associated with it. In many cases, alternative forms of connectivity may be more appropriate for most use cases, given the level of investment required for a private network.

For more information, check our latest report Navigating the private cellular maze: when, where and how?


Yesmean Luk

Yesmean Luk

Yesmean Luk

Principal Consultant

Yesmean is a Senior Consultant at STL Partners and has led and managed client projects with both operators and technology companies across a number of domains, including private networks, telco cloud, network slicing, edge computing and IoT. Before joining STL, she held various consulting roles at Deloitte and IBM. She holds a Global MSc in Management from the London School of Economics, specialising in strategy and international business.

Download this article as a PDF

Read more about private networks

Private networks insights pack

Our pack will provide you with a summary of insights from our private cellular networks practice

What is CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service)?

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) enables the use of private networks on the unlicensed spectrum of the 3.5Ghz band (3550 – 3700MHz)

What is Wi-Fi 7?

We delve into Wi-Fi 7’s key features and improvements, and explore its potential impact on enterprise use cases and applications.

Are automated vehicles really a killer use case for 5G?​ 

STL Partners spoke to leading automated vehicle manufacturers to find out more about their connectivity needs.