Jennifer Artley. Verizon Business SVP for 5G Acceleration, claimed momentum is building in the 5G private wireless market although certain obstacles still remain, including the fact that devices are not yet keeping up with demand.

“We expect this to be a booming market in a couple of years,” Artley said during a roundtable at MWC Barcelona 2024. “We definitely have momentum, but the expectation is that we will do 5x in 2024, for what we did in 2023. And we’ll double that following year. We need to ride the momentum curve, and we need to make sure we’re working out all the kinks along the way.”

Massimo Peselli, chief revenue officer, Global Enterprise and Public Sector for Verizon Business, also noted that the company has seen an increase “in terms of opportunities” from high single digits to high triple digits over the past couple of years.

“We’ve seen an increasing demand of engagement around private 5G as the enabler of AI and as a big enabler of edge and edge computing solutions,” he said, noting that Verizon Business started talking to customers about the “potential power of 5G” in around 2017.

Peselli added that sales have also been increasing in the small and medium-size enterprise (SME) segment. Here, “we had more sales in the first two months of the year than we had in the entire of 2023” as SMEs seek to gain efficiencies and create differentiation, he said.

Verizon Business did not reveal how many customers are currently using 5G private wireless solutions. However, Artley indicated that the company is moving away from the proof-of-concept phase and towards actual deployments.

“A year ago, we were focused on site surveys and having those conversations. Nine months ago, we were focused on proofs of concept. At this point, we’ve proven, and we can connect customers to reference customers to have the conversation,” Artley said.

She added that Verizon Business is not only seeing an increase in the quantity of customers, but also in the number of sites per customer as they start to see the benefits of private 5G.

Verizon Business focuses on marketing private wireless solutions globally, but a key enabling factor is whether or not a particular nation licenses spectrum for enterprise use.

According to Artley, eleven countries have already released spectrum for enterprise use, “and we expect another three in the second quarter”, although she noted that this is “changing week by week”.

“We do want to work with regulators around the world to encourage more, because we have global customers, such as US-headquartered, global customers, who are in [several countries] around the world, and they want … to apply similar use cases”, she said.