September 30, 2020

Private LTE Trends

Private LTE is quickly turning from an industry buzzword to a viable robust solution that is getting adopted by various vertical markets. With the number of OEMs supporting the RAN, CORE, and Edge there are plenty of devices out on the market making the lack of spectrum and qualified Systems Integrators a bottleneck for current deployments. Future Technologies has been building Private Cellular Networks for over 8 years and we see Private LTE as a big part of what Industry 4.0 is and will become. Below are some of the applicable market segments and the subsequent use cases that we are seeing today.

    • Service Providers/School Systems

      • CBRS and the need for people to work and learn remote are the two biggest drivers for Private LTE becoming more prevalent in these markets. With the PALs being complete we only expect to see these networks to roll out more frequently.

    • Utility/Mining/Oil &Gas

      • CBRS opens the possibility of Private LTE with Utilities but we see Band 8 Spectrum being the better fit for most utility use cases. We have seen use cases from connecting downline devices and AMI backhaul, to workforce automation. We are working with Co-Ops to show them how their network can benefit from LTE and we are quickly finding more assets previously unaware of that can connect up over one technology.

      • Mining and O&G are also two markets ripe for Private LTE due to their critical data needs and remote environments. Some of the many use cases include wellhead backhaul to autonomous haulers and shovels.  

    • Manufacturing

      • The overall addressable market for Private LTE in this space is over 14 million sites. This is largely due to the low latency and ability to load many devices on the network without seeing major degradation in performance. The uses cases are virtually endless but some of the key drivers will be automated guided vehicles, robots & drones, remote expert solutions, digital twins and many more.

    • Rail and Ports

      • Intermodal yards and Ports are prime candidates for a Private LTE network. Just like the markets mentioned above, Inter-modal and Ports demand a robust network that can withstand the ever-changing environment. With these sites having constant mobility, Private LTE becomes an instant option to meet their critical data backhaul needs. Use cases could range from RTG Crane and hostler backhaul, automated picking, video surveillance backhaul, among others.

The above markets have similarities that makes Private LTE a viable solution for all of them. They all require a robust network that can scale while improving safety and workforce efficiency. The key will remain in the availability of spectrum in the different bands. It will be interesting to see if the FCC opens a low band for the larger field area networks or if carriers start to invest in the private builds. Either way we should see continued growth with Private LTE for the foreseeable future.

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Taylor Juska