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Vendors lead private 5G space as telcos struggle

Private 5G networks remain a hotly contested multibillion-dollar market opportunity that continues to coalesce, but analysts have noted initial market solidification is skewing heavily away from traditional mobile network operators (MNOs) and toward vendors and system integrators (SIs).

MNOs have been talking about private 5G network opportunities since they first started about their 5G deployments. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told an analyst conference back in 2018 that private 5G was one of the many 5G network slices the carrier was looking to support with its then-proprietary 5G network deployment.

However, that market approach is still evolving for MNOs.

Sowmyanarayan Sampath, CEO for Verizon’s Consumer Unit, recently told an audience at Deutsche Bank’s 32nd Annual Media, Internet and Telecom Conference that the carrier is indeed seeing private network traction boosted by the carrier’s ongoing 5G network updates.

“We used to do one or two deals a month,” Sampath said of the carrier’s private network business. “Now, we are doing significantly more deals a month, some high-profile deals in that space. There’s continued growth in wireless in the space.”

However, other operators remain more cautious on the opportunity.

“Are private networks going to be the multibillion-dollar thing, or are they going to be a way to solve problems and take share on other connected devices?” T-Mobile CFO Peter Osvaldik asked attendees at Morgan Stanley’s recent Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. “The answer is probably a little bit of both, but it’s still early in this regard and it’s still early in terms of connected solutions beyond postpaid phones that are going to solve industry vertical problems.” SDX Central

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