Private wireless networks, including public-safety networks, have been slow to gravitate toward LTE, but adoption of the technology will pick up significantly in the latter part of the next decade, according to research firm IHS.
Only about 400,000 data connections will be delivered via private LTE networks by the end of 2017, but IHS forecasts the number of connections will exceed 3 million by the end of 2023.
Private mobile networks can provide users with more control and guaranteed network access at broadband speeds, which is particularly essential in mission-critical situations. Yet while users are demanding more sophisticated and high-bandwidth applications over private networks, many are having to make do with data use over commercial cellular, said Jennifer Shortland, analyst for critical communications at IHS.
Despite suitable spectrum allocations in the United Arab Emirates and Australia, as well as the planned rollout of the LTE-based national public safety broadband network (NPSBN) by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) in the United States, deployment of private LTE networks globally is being hampered by spectrum and funding issues.
"While the industry appears to be moving toward private LTE solutions to address growing data demand, this transition will be exceptionally protracted," Shortland said. "Spectrum allocation--particularly across Europe, where dedicated harmonized spectrum is expected to be assigned for public-safety users--will take many years," she added.
- see this IHS release
Report: Global public safety LTE spending to reach $850M in 2016