Utilities: The role of private 4G/5G

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The utilities sector is a promising opportunity area for private LTE and 5G networks. But it is not an easy one for telcos to address, as utility companies often deploy and manage networking technology in-house or via specialist service providers to satisfy service requirements. This report examines the sector realities.


Format: PDF filePages: 55 pagesAuthor: Dean BubleyPublication Date: November 2023

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
    • Overview
    • Recommendations for traditional mobile operators
    • Recommendations for utility companies
    • Recommendations for regulators and policymakers
    • Recommendations for vendors
  • Introduction
    • Definition of the utilities sector
    • Differences between utilities and other verticals for P4G/P5G
    • Sector trends and drivers affecting private networks
  • Use cases for 4G/5G in utilities
    • Scale of utility private networks
    • Use cases for private 4G and 5G in utilities
    • Examples of utility private networks
  • Supply and regulatory trends for utility sector private networks
    • Private vs. public cellular networks in utilities
    • 5G vs. other wireless technologies
    • New service provider classes and delivery models
    • Spectrum
    • Regulatory and policymaking considerations
    • The vendor landscape
  • Conclusions and recommendations
    • Conclusion and long-term futures
    • Takeouts for traditional MNOs and telcos
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Estimated utilities sector opportunities for private networks
  • Figure 2: Multiple sub-sectors for utilities vertical
  • Figure 3: Utility sectors intersect with several adjacent verticals
  • Figure 4: Utility megatrends and implications for connectivity
  • Figure 5: Utilities network scale varies by 4-5 orders of magnitude
  • Figure 6: Key use cases for private networks in utilities verticals
  • Figure 7: Examples of utility sector private 4G/5G deployments and trials
  • Figure 8: Video use cases for private networks in utilities
  • Figure 9: Multiple drivers for utility use of private vs. public cellular networks
  • Figure 10: Private network suitability for selected utility use cases
  • Figure 11: Infrastructure-level convergence and transformation
  • Figure 12: Examples of utility companies offering commercial telecom services
  • Figure 13: 400/450MHz band availability for utility networks


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 3GPP Releases, 450 Alliance, 450Connect, 4G/5G, AGVs, AMI, AR, B2B, Bluetooth, BRS, climate change, cloudcos, DA, DECT, DER, digital twins, EBS, edge computing, EV, FANs, FCC, FLISR, FWA, IEDs, infracos, IoT, LiDAR, LMR, LNG, LoRa, LPWAN, M2M, mmWave, MNOs, MVNOs, net zero, Network slicing, neutral host, nuclear, oil/gas, open RAN, P25, PMR, power stations, private networks, PSTN, PTT, push to talk, robots, SCADA, solar farms, spectrum leasing, TETRA, towercos, URLLC, Utilities, utility workers, video cameras, VR, water treatment facilities, water treatment plants, water/gas pipelines, Wi-SUN, wind farms