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.
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? or