A report by SNS Telecom & IT highlights that the utilities sector is gearing up for a digital transformation with substantial investments in private 5G/4G cellular networks.
The networks, also known as Non-Public Networks (NPNs), are witnessing a global surge in popularity across various industries.
The utilities sector has a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15 percent over the next three years. This growth trend translates into nearly £2 billion in cumulative infrastructure investments between 2023 and 2026.
Private cellular networks in the utilities sector encompass a broad spectrum of applications—from wide area 3GPP networks operating in sub-1 GHz bands for smart grid communications, to purpose-built 5G and LTE networks providing localised wireless connectivity in critical infrastructure facilities.
Several notable examples highlight this transformative wave:
- US investments: Utility giants like Ameren, SCE, and Xcel Energy are leading the charge by implementing 3GPP-based private wireless networks, supporting grid modernisation efforts.
- Global innovations: Internationally, companies like ESB Networks in Ireland and EDF in France are deploying private mobile networks—ensuring secure cellular connectivity in their nuclear power plants and smart grid applications.
- Asian pioneers: Asian countries are not far behind. China Southern Power Grid relies on LTE-based private cellular systems, while KEPCO in South Korea has implemented private 5G networks for enhanced monitoring and control capabilities.
This surge in private network adoption stems from the need for robust, secure, and efficient communication systems in the utilities sector. Whether it’s enhancing grid efficiency, automating critical devices, or ensuring real-time monitoring, private cellular networks are becoming the backbone of modern utility operations.
You can find a full copy of the report here (paywall)
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