Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issue. In this exclusive thought piece, Will Townsend, a Senior Analyst responsible for Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services at Moor Insights & Strategy, discusses private networking, and the opportunity it presents to MVNOs.

Private cellular based networking is gaining momentum globally for use cases that span energy, transportation, logistics, healthcare, mining, and manufacturing among others. Enterprises are beginning to tap its potential with current 4G LTE infrastructure given longer signal propagation outdoors and lower latency relative to Wi-Fi. As 5G is deployed, there will be dramatic improvements over LTE in the form of latency, throughput, and the ability to virtualize network functions. Private networking will also bring needed operational agility in form of fine-tuning performance for specific application needs.

The ultimate success of private networking deployments will lie in the ability for it to be delivered as an integrated solution. Consequently, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are well positioned to capitalize on the monetization opportunity. Enterprises simply don’t have the competency to piecemeal cellular-based networks together, and MVNOs possess cellular infrastructure management “know how” that will be invaluable to enterprises. Nokia Enterprise in my mind is leading private networking infrastructure enablement for service providers and should serve MVNOs that wish to create managed service offerings. If interested, you can learn more details about Nokia’s offerings here.

In my mind, the democratization of licensed spectrum with initiatives such as the CBRS Alliance in the United States, similar initiatives and investigations in Europe and Asia, and the availability of non-carrier grade private networking equipment presents a unique opportunity for MVNOs. In a 5G world, operator leadership will be defined by innovative service delivery and not access. Private networking is poised to improve manufacturing yields in an industrial 4.0 era, create safer workplaces, and accelerate digital transformation in a multitude of industries. Those MVNOs that seize the opportunity have the potential to differentiate themselves and reap the financial rewards.


Mr. Townsend advises some of the largest networking infrastructure providers and carriers in the world. He has been featured on NPR, CNBC, in the Wall Street Journal, and frequently contributes on Forbes.com providing insights into both enterprise networking and 5G. Mr. Townsend is also ranked as one of the top networking analysts in the world as measured by ARInsights. In September 2020, Mr. Townsend is set to speak at MVNOs World Congress in Berlin.


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