SIMPLY PUT: What is private 5G and why it is important for telcos
Advertisement5G in India has everyone from the Ambanis to the Adanis and Mittals excited – more so now that the 5G spectrum auctions are just around the corner. Even though the telecom industry is on the brink of becoming a duopoly, the entry of Gautam
But Adani’s foray into 5G is for a different reason altogether, at least going by the official announcements made by the company. India’s richest man announced last week that his 5G entry is aimed at providing secure connectivity to his diverse business portfolio, which ranges from ports to energy, mining and airports, among others.
This, in other terms, is
Of course, Adani will have to pour in thousands of crores to acquire 5G spectrum and set up the infrastructure, but it’s possible that the company thinks this is more beneficial in the long run.
7 out of 10 people surveyed by Stocktwits think Adani will outbid telcos in the 5G spectrum race
But what exactly is private 5G and why is everyone from Big Tech to telcos and now Adani so interested in it?
Let’s decode this in simple terms.
Private 5G – what does it mean?
Simply put, private 5G is a localized network that uses cellular technology to provide connectivity within a specific area. Imagine a campus of a major company – it is large enough to require wireless connectivity, something that Wi-Fi alone cannot service.
AdvertisementThat said, private networks are not a new concept. Several countries have already given out licenses to operate private networks – even on 4G LTE. Overall, there are 55 countries which have private networks.
In the simplest of terms, private 5G is like a secured Wi-Fi network in your home – the access is restricted to authorized people and equipment. Outsiders cannot access it, and it is different from your existing subscription with Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea or BSNL.
Also read: https://www.businessinsider.in/business/telecom/news/5g-in-india-who-what-when-why-and-how-much/articleshow/91004188.cms
Private 5G is important for two reasons – 5G technology opens up a wide range of use cases for the enterprise segment, and using a private network can help maintain security and avoid the cost of using telecom service providers’ networks.
Network experts have termed private 5G networks as the future of smart factories. Think self-driving vehicles in a company’s campus, mobile robots, augmented reality-guided predictive maintenance and more.
Wired networks also have the troublesome wires to deal with – wires are manageable when it’s just one fibre line entering your home, but for a large company with thousands of employees and huge factories, wire management is a big hassle.
This is also why a closed, wireless, fast and secure 5G network is that much more attractive for big companies.
Even though private networks have existed for a while, they do not offer the speeds, reliability and capacities that 5G networks offer. For this reason, Big Tech and giants like the Adani group want to run their own private 5G networks, instead of leasing the services of telcos.
Telcos don’t want private 5G – here’s why
On the other hand, telcos say that private 5G networks will hamper their business models. This is understandable, since running a network is the bread and butter of telecom companies – if others start doing it, what is the point of investing lakhs of crores in setting up the telecom infrastructure?
In an exclusive interview with Business Insider India, COAI’s director general Dr SP Kochhar said enterprise services will contribute to 70% of 5G revenues, so it makes sense why telcos are not extremely happy about private 5G networks.
Will private 5G benefit the common man?
Private 5G, by definition, is not accessible to the common man. Only those in the organization will be able to access these networks, so the question of the common man deriving benefit from private 5G does not even arise.
Even with publicly accessible 5G networks, the aam aadmi might not have enough of an incentive to upgrade to 5G, given that 5G could cost a little more than 4G, the existing 4G speeds are more than sufficient for streaming shows and movies, and 5G phones cost an average of INR 29,300.
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