There’s more than one slice to the wireless pie. There are public wireless networks like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility, and there are also private 5G wireless networks serving companies, government agencies, colleges and more.
Companies and executives prefer private wireless networks for many reasons — including better signal strength and higher levels of security; complete control over the network and its functions; ability to give preference to high level executives when the network is busy; and more.
With such a compelling value proposition, private wireless services will remain a dynamic category: Where it stands today is surely not where it will be tomorrow. Let’s take a closer look.
The field of providers is actually quite diverse — with many companies in the business of providing private wireless network services to business customers. Sometimes public networks offer a private version. Other times companies create their own.
On the equipment side, companies like Qualcomm (QCOM), Cisco (CSCO), Nokia (NOKBF), Ericsson (ERIC) and others help companies install private wireless networking equipment. They also help manage the necessary and ongoing service and equipment upgrades and updates that keep the network operational.
On the services side are companies like Verizon (VZ), AT&T Orange (T), Telefonica (TEF) and others, which are public networks that also offer private wireless networking services. This can provide more effective security to protect important communications and company information.
Companies like Betacom, Kore Wireless, Celona, Cradlepoint and others that work directly with companies to provide both network hardware and services, often from the big wireless networks.
In fact, there are several different ways for companies to get the reach, speed and quality of a big carrier, combined with a private network’s added security and control over availability.
There are yet other companies in the mix — like Xfinity Mobile (CMCSK), Spectrum Mobile (CHTR) and Optimum (ATUS). — that offer a more limited variety of private wireless services. These are MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) wireless resellers that have a business services side.
When users share a public wireless network, there are more security risks and vulnerabilities. In addition, the network often gets jammed with too many users during busy hours, limiting access for the overall organization. (You may have noticed this when sometimes your wireless connection works and other times not so much.)
The concern among corporate leaders is that, when networks are busy with countless users listening to music or surfing the web, executives and the researchers that support them experience slowdowns and can’t easily share critical communications. This can be frustrating for some users, and devastatingly so to others. (Think of a CEO looking to download a board presentation or react to breaking news.)
When a company uses a private 5G wireless network, they control who gets access to it and they choose the people who get priority when the network is busy. That way it’s no longer a roll of the dice. This is why private wireless networks are so valuable to a growing number of companies, government agencies, colleges and more.
The value prop is so compelling that, in the future, we may see private services being made available to individuals who find they need or want this higher level of security and availability as well.
Jeff Kagan, a telecom, technology and wireless industry analyst and consultant, is an Equities.com columnist. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at JeffKagan.com, and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.