Leading executives from Intel and Fujitsu Networks told Mobile World Live private networks are a potentially lucrative market for open and disaggregated infrastructure, with the timing of initiatives around the equipment sector marrying well with the latest use-cases for 5G technology.

In separate interviews ahead of the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) second FYUZ event, Caroline Chan, VP of network architecture at Intel, and Olufemi Adeyemi, head of the Wireless Business Unit and chief wireless solutions architect at Fujitsu Network Communications, said their companies are already drawing interest in private networking from vertical industries.

Chan cited leading US retailers and petroleum companies as examples, as enterprises look to overhaul back-office systems, improve tracking of items and bolster their overall supply chain.

To meet their requirements, Chan believes the technology sector must “really all start opening up, disaggregating the network”, because black-box solutions are no longer sufficient in terms of delivering the flexibility needed to overhaul businesses’ information and operational technology.

An open and disaggregated approach to infrastructure enables greater flexibility in meeting the private 5G needs of a wide-range of businesses, Chan noted.

But she emphasised operators remain important, explaining around half of her unit’s revenue comes from the network side, leaving it keen on having a “healthy operator business that will continue to invest”.

AI boost
The executive acknowledged investment in new generations of connectivity technology has a big impact on operators, many of which are yet to recognise the promised ARPU uplift of 5G.

AI will be a boon in this regard, Chan explained, citing moves around automation and using machine learning to lower power consumption.

Chan argued AI has the potential to reduce the total cost of ownership for operators, along with providing revenue opportunities by connecting vertical industries.

Adeyemi explained Fujitsu is adopting a similar business model to Wi-Fi for its private mobile networks push, pitching companies on its ability to deliver all the elements needed.

He noted “private networks are springing up left and right”, with the allocation of fresh spectrum enabling the sector “to thrive”.

Like Chan, he sees opportunities beyond connecting campuses, explaining private 5G is “also for manufacturing flow”, along with “robotic innovation, little low-latency applications” and security.

He explained openness is aiding a connection between software and hardware, enabling a company “exclusively focused on software innovations” to write code which can then be “consumed by others”, enabling a truly global market.

While agreeing with Chan over the operator opportunity, Adeyemi noted a growing availability of spectrum is enabling enterprises to deploy their own private networks if desired.

As a result, it is “not just on the operator side” that Fujitsu sees opportunities, with openness also delivering a “lot of activities” in the private sector.

Keep your eyes peeled for live coverage of TIP’s FYUZ 2023, which is running in Madrid from 9 October to 11 October.