​​Private networks are not just infrastructure​ 

Enterprises are investing in digital transformation and private mobile networks are seen as important enablers of applications that not only drive productivity and operational efficiency but fundamentally change the way that operations run. STL Partners recently published its Private networks market forecast 2024 – 2030 Here is a quick summary of our analysis.

Private mobile networks spend to reach US$21 billion by 2030

STL Partners’ recently published market forecast projects that spending on building, running and maintaining private mobile networks will grow at a compound annual rate of 62% from US$1.2 billion in 2024 to US$21 billion in 2030 worldwide.

Growth has been more modest in the last two years, as enterprises needed to be convinced of the return on investment, and the weak macroeconomic outlook did not help. However, things are picking up, and we expect the three years from 2024 to 2026 to bring more adoption before the market scales up to surpass US$5 billion in 2027.

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Applications will account for over 40% of the value

The private network market is more than just infrastructure though. Much of the growth in market value will be driven by the applications layer, which will increase its share from 14% of the total revenue in 2024 to become the biggest part of the value chain, with a 42% share at over US$9 billion in 2030. This explosive growth will be driven by enterprises utilising their private network infrastructure more efficiently to run multiple applications and compute-intensive use cases.

Total private networks addressable revenue, 2024-2030

Total private networks addressable revenue

Countries with highly developed industrial sectors are poised to lead the space, with China and the United States projected to command significant shares of the market by 2030, amounting to US$2.4 billion and US$1.8 billion, respectively.

Manufacturing has led the way and will remain the largest spender on private networks for the foreseeable future. In 2024 it will account for almost 50% of the market, but its share will shrink by 2030, as utilities, extractive industries and logistics all see a boom in adoption.

4G will continue to dominate the market until 5G takes its crown in 2028

Despite much talk and hype about 5G in the telecom industry, 4G (LTE) will remain the dominant technology in private mobile networks until 2028, when 5G will take over the pole position. This is because for many enterprises 4G is considered sufficient to meet the requirements of most early, tactical use cases, such as reliable connectivity in remote locations. Still, as more 5G devices come to market, the cost of deployment goes down, and dynamic network slicing and standalone 5G become more widely available, we expect 5G-based deployments to become more widespread among enterprises, including small-to-medium sized companies. Simply put, the barrier to entry will be lower, helping the market to flourish.

Marina Koytcheva

Marina Koytcheva

Marina Koytcheva

Director, Research

Marina works across STL Partners’ research portfolio, with a specific focus on the Executive Briefing Service, consumer services and sustainability. She joined STL Partners in 2023 with 18 years of experience as a market analyst, first at Nokia, and then at CCS Insight where she led the market forecasting practice across all technology areas and modelled the impact of major global disruptions. She has wide expertise across telecoms, hyperscalers, device markets, consumer behaviour, and the impact of macroeconomic factors on the tech industry. Marina holds an MSc in Finance and Economics, and an MBA.

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