Home5GOne third of industrial companies, half of large firms, will apply for 5G licenses

One third of industrial companies, half of large firms, will apply for 5G licenses

One third of industrial companies, and almost one half of large industrial organisations, will apply for their own 5G licenses. The interest from enterprises in spectrum licenses, as well as in network management, is highest among US and French firms, with more than two in five in both cases keen on 5G licenses.

So says new research by consultancy firm Capgemini, which polled 800 industrial companies and 150 telecoms companies in 12 countries to make conclusions about the current approach of businesses to industrial 5G.

In total, 33 per cent of organisations, and 47 per cent of large organisations, want their own licenses to run 5G networks. Companies in the US, France, and Sweden, show the keenest interest, with averages of 44 per cent, 41 per cent, and 40 per cent respectively.

The US is already in the process of liberating the 3.5GHz CBRS band for shared and private usage. German companies have also made early moves with private networking, as the local regulator has earmarked 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum for industrial usage.

But in Germany, the home of Industrie 4.0, the number of enterprises interested in spectrum licences is just 28 per cent, lower than the average – and a way behind most other European countries in the poll.

On the flipside, almost half (47 per cent) of executives polled by Capgemini said they will not pursue spectrum licenses themselves, whether or not they choose to manage their own networks in sub-licensed spectrum, or leave spectrum and operations to specialist providers.

In the US and France, the numbers counting themselves out of spectrum ownership are as high as the numbers counting themselves in – 44 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively. In the UK and Germany, these numbers are around 50 per cent higher – 46 per cent of UK enterprises and and 48 per cent of German enterprises do not wish to own spectrum, compared with 32 per cent and 28 per cent that do.

The poll found larger companies keener to run 5G networks in their own spectrum, with 47 per cent of firms with a turnover of at least $10 billion planning to apply for licenses – just 12 per cent of $10 billion companies rule it out. A majority in most other cases are undecided (see below).

Capgemini notes enterprises want the greater autonomy and security 5G promises, and are concerned that telecoms operators are being “too slow in rolling-out 5G public networks”. Security and operational advantages will drive 5G adoption, it said, with enterprises not waiting around.

Almost two-thirds of industrial companies (65 per cent) plan to implement 5G within the first two years of availability. In Italy (35 per cent), France (30 per cent) and Canada (27 per cent), over a quarter intend to use 5G within the first year, while 75 per cent of industrial companies in the UK and Italy, 69 per cent in Spain, and 68 per cent in the US and Norway plan to start within the first two years.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of executives in the poll ranked 5G as a key technology for digital change, behind only cloud computing (84 per cent), and ahead notably of advanced automation (73 per cent) and artificial intelligence (66 per cent).

The fact fibre and the non-cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) equivalents, featured highly – in fourth, with 68 per cent, under the header ‘non-cellular connectivity’ – makes clear the perceived importance of connectivity as a springboard to digital transformation.

Importantly, manufacturers are willing to pay a premium charge for enhanced 5G connectivity. However, operators appear less aware of their value of it. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of industrial companies will pay more for enhanced mobile broadband speed and increased capacity, yet only 54 per cent of telecom operators think there is appetite for this.

Pierre Fortier, principal consultant in telecom, media and technology at Capgemini, said: “This research makes it clear that industrial companies are confident about the benefits of 5G before it has even come to market. That said, 5G is an emerging technology and there will be many challenges to overcome before it is ready to be deployed at scale. Co-innovation between industrial companies and the telco ecosystem, in the form of pilots and open experimentation platforms, will be essential to create win-win business, service and operating models that will foster 5G adoption.”

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