Research by industry organisation Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) found at least 370 companies globally are or have invested in private mobile networks, with 5G deployments beginning to gain momentum.
In a report, the GSA explained the figure encompases companies investing in trials and pilot deployments, commercial launches or funding licences which would enable private LTE or 5G networks to be rolled out.
The GSA found private networks based on both network technologies, or where 5G-suitable private network spectrum licences have been assigned, are present in 45 countries or territories.
It added the pace of 5G deployment is accelerating, with 44 per cent of private networks using the next-generation technology. LTE is being used in 64 per cent compared with 81 per cent in October 2020, with 8 per cent running across both technologies.
The manufacturing sector was identified as the leading early adopter of local area private mobile networks, with 79 per cent of companies holding suitable licences, or involved in pilots or deployments. Automotive companies account for more than a quarter, followed by mining.
For wide area private mobile networks, utilities, public safety, security, IT and rail are all active users.
GSA president Joe Barrett explained demand for private networks was being driven by spiralling data, security, digitalisation and enterprise mobility requirements of modern business and government entities.
Mobile World Live will delve deeper into private 5G networks in our next Theme Week, due to begin on 27 September.