Industrial LTE and 5G network management: Whose line is it anyway?
Antje Williams, Executive Programme Manager for 5G, Deutsche Telekom –
“We have a huge divide at the moment in the industry, in the country, [about] how operators can serve industries best. There are lots of complaints about how operators have served industry so far, which has probably something to do with the fact our networks are consumer centric. But we don’t believe they should be like that in the future. As operators, we want to embrace our industry partners to serve them in the right way.
“Customers need a public layer, but they need a private one too, because they want to keep their data [on site]. We would like to offer both. And we have started that, based on LTE, and going into 5G… You can use any kind of spectrum for public [networks]. As an operator, we can use this spectrum for public usage, and we can also use the same spectrum for private networks. The advantage we have is we can play with these frequencies.”
Henning Löser, Head of Production Lab, Audi –
“Everything’s on the table – that’s the message. Right now, the technology is still developing. We need to figure out what it can actually do. We don’t even know all the use cases that will come up in the future. Okay, the technology is really cool, but we first need to know the problems it can solve – which we couldn’t solve before.
“[It is clear that] to get to these very low frequencies, we need to manage it locally. The question is whether enterprises will really do it themselves, or hire a company to support them. Whichever, it’s their network, and the data stays on the premises. That’s something we want as well, for sure.
“Would we let an operator manage our network? Why not? We have contracts with companies that help us operate our wi-fi networks, and we will most likely do the same with 5G. Because it’s not our business to operate a cellular network. What we want is the ultra-reliable low-latency communication; then we’ll figure out who will make us the best offer to operate a network like that… And we’ll most likely have a contract that goes for a couple of years, and look for a new supplier every couple of years.”
Greg Corlis, National IoT Leader, KPMG –
“5G gives carriers a chance to reinvent themselves. They’re still focused on consumer 5G and beating their competitors. [But] behind closed doors, they want to capitalise on private LTE and 5G in the enterprise space. Consumer 5G is too costly; the returns will take too long. They won’t have the same issue with enterprise 5G, and will demonstrate incremental value to customers.
“Some carriers will offer 5G as an enterprise solution, and some enterprises will manage responsibility themselves, just as they have managed their wired and wi-fi networks. In the end, it will be a mix, but operators will have a clear role.
“Some smaller enterprises may want control and some bigger players may want operators to manage it for them. Running private 5G in a single plant won’t be so different from running a localised wi-fi network, whereas a manufacturer with 40 plants across a large geography will find it much harder – and probably require a whole organisation to operate the network. So there is justificaton both ways. The ‘bigs’ might do it themselves, and the ‘smalls’ might too. There’s not enough clarity, yet, to know which way it will go.”
This is an excerpt from an editorial report, called ‘Digital Factory Solutions: Industrial LTE and 5G’. To view / download the report, click here.