The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) has published a new market study on the existing and future market for private wireless networks using 4G or 5G in Australia.
Industry analysts suggest that 5G private networks will be a ‘game-changer’ for industry 4.0, enabling connectivity, advanced analytics, automation and advanced manufacturing technology.
The ACMA’s five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO) 2022–27 for 2022–23 identifies private wireless networks as a driver for spectrum supporting 5G connectivity. The FYSO anticipates that private wireless networks will continue to increase in number, and that most new networks will use 5G technology.
Estimates vary for the number of private wireless networks around the world, with deployment most common in the manufacturing and logistics sectors. Our research found there are over 50 private wireless networks already in operation in Australia, with more in planning stages. These networks are mainly in the mining and resources sector.
In Australia, the rail sector is also deploying private wireless networks using spectrum licences. The agricultural sector is investigating opportunities to deploy private wireless networks, and the entertainment and advanced manufacturing sectors have shown interest in the technology.
The domestic market for private wireless networks is expected to grow to be worth nearly $700 million by 2027.
Key factors in deploying private wireless networks are:
having a sound business case for digitising operations
assessing the cost and complexity of deploying a network at particular locations
securing spectrum at desired frequencies in particular locations
having access to range of industrial-grade wireless equipment at suitable frequencies.
Private wireless networks present new challenges and opportunities for enterprises. The ACMA says it will continue to monitor developments, including any effects on the demand for spectrum.