MFA ramps-up support for any-spectrum private 5G – with tools, guides, trackers
MFA, the private networking alliance that emerged from the old MulteFire project, is ramping up activities with a bunch of new resources, including tools and guides, for industrial enterprises looking to deploy private LTE and 5G, plus a headline sponsorship of Hannover Messe USA, the stateside version of Germany’s premier industrial fair. Swedish vendor Ericsson, an original MFA member, is the other big sponsor at the Chicago event next week.
MFA, formerly the MulteFire Alliance, has announced the availability – not all new-availability – of technology blueprints for private LTE and 5G networks, an interactive map of spectrum options for private LTE and 5G networks, a tracker tool to chart the spread of private LTE and 5G networks, and a network identifier scheme to provide enterprises with a unique global public land mobile network (PLMN) ID for their private LTE and 5G networks.
Most of these have been announced already, but MFA said they are being grouped-together for members for the first time on its website, and the alliance has organised its marketing and comms activity as well to publish a periodical private networks newsletter for members and interested parties – to share updates on latest deployments, regulations, white papers, case studies – and to splash-out on a headline sponsorship at Hannover Messe USA.
MFA is promoting 3GPP-based private network technologies, including LTE-based and 5G-based solutions, including in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands. It has grouped these versions of private cellular under the moniker of ‘universal 5G’, or Uni5G. MulteFire remains the LTE-based solution for private networks in unlicensed spectrum; a 5G version for unlicensed deployments is under review in 3GPP releases 17 and 18, as 5G NR-U.
The new tracker facility (which is new) is being managed by analyst firm Mobile Experts. “The tracker provides insight into the state of private networks across various industry verticals and enterprises as well as regions where private networks are gaining ground,” said MFA.
Mobile Experts estimates that more than 2,800 private LTE and 5G networks have been deployed, to date. It reckons the market for private cellular equipment will grow 12-15 percent in 2022, to $1.9 billion, and “continue to ramp as the industrial device ecosystem scales”.
Kyung Mun, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, commented: “We see that additional regulators are taking their cue from early actions in Germany, Japan, the US, and the UK to make available dedicated private 5G spectrum. MFA will be providing ongoing updates on private network deployments globally so enterprises can learn about trends and best practices.”
The tech blueprints and identifier scheme have been well-trailed in these pages (go here and here for coverage, respectively). Release-15 blueprints are in circulation; release 16 blueprints are in the works.
Mazen Chmaytelli, president at MFA, commented: “The connectivity requirements of enterprises are becoming more complex, with thousands of devices on a network conducting business-critical applications. MFA is a leading industry resource for enterprises looking to understand the benefits and opportunities of 3GPP-based private networks for their business. Our mission is to make it as easy as possible for enterprises to deploy their own private network in any spectrum, and we are providing the tools and resources to help them… achieve their digitalization goals.”