We use cookies for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure, personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to analyse how our Sites are used.
A new world is possible. Let’s not go back to what wasn’t working anyway.

We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest 5G networks news every morning.
As fifth-generation mobile networks roll out, telecommunications companies say the technology’s ultrafast speed will create “killer apps” and transform how we consume entertainment. But the impact of 5G on business — potentially just as important — is less discussed.
Regulators are allocating 5G telecoms spectrum to companies, though — which is making easier for them to buy their own private 5G networks that do not share traffic with other networks.
Businesses involved in manufacturing, mining and logistics are already testing and installing these private 5G networks, as are public-sector organisations, including the military,
They are doing so as they need “reliable connectivity, security and more connected devices on [their] networks”, explains Tami Erwin, executive vice-president and chief executive of Verizon Business, a telecommunications and technology company.
Company networks — cellular (mobile), WiFi and wired, using cable or fibre optic — are having to deal with a growing amount of data. Much of this new traffic is from the rapid increase in internet-connected devices, the so-called “Internet of Things”. Total connected device numbers could reach 42bn by 2025, according to a report from IDC, a research company.
By combining networks like this with autonomous robotics and augmented reality, and applying analytical techniques using artificial intelligence, companies hope to glean insights from the data — and boost growth.
The network is critical to digital transformation, including . . . connected devices and robots on the factory floor.
Private 5G networks may provide a more reliable platform on which to connect these technologies — especially if they are used for critical business operations, experts believe.
“The why [for private 5G networks] is digital transformation,” says Brian Partridge, research director at 451 Research. “The network is critical to digital transformation, including . . . connected devices and robots on the factory floor.”
Only around a couple of hundred companies — mainly large ones — are currently making use of private 5G networks, based on industry estimates, but the market is expected to expand.
According to a forecast from, it will grow at an average rate 40 per cent a year between 2021 and 2028, by which time it will be worth $14bn.
Chris Johnson, head of global enterprise business at telecoms equipment maker Nokia, says companies using private 5G networks are already connecting a “rich tapestry” of machines and other physical assets, and analysing the data from it to improve production. “5G networks can bring a next level of connectivity and resilience”, he says. For example, they can improve predictive maintenance “before things grind to a halt”.
In Taiwan, researchers have collaborated with a technology company and an industrial company in developing a “smart factory” that deploys autonomous robots. This factory can communicate and plan using “swarm intelligence” and AI-powered cameras to detect manufacturing defects.
“The real advantage [of a private 5G network] is supporting things that aren’t typical IT infrastructure — for example, vehicles,” says Toby McClean, a technologist who helped to develop the factory.
Companies can build and run their own 5G networks, or outsource the work to telecoms operators, equipment manufacturers and tech groups.
[The private 5G network] gives us increased visibility in real time to track where the cars are and . . . then we can start to share [data] with our customers
Associated British Ports (ABP), which owns and operates 21 ports in the UK, has installed a private 5G network, supplied by Verizon, in partnership with Nokia, at its port in Southampton. And it has connected this network to new terminal operating software, which scans and tracks the imports and exports of cars.
“That gives us increased visibility in real time to track where the cars are and . . . then we can start to share [data] with our customers, including where their cargo is,” points out ABP chief information officer, Harm van Weezel. Benefits include real-time scanning of port activity and an increase in productivity, he adds.
ABP is also considering connecting the CCTV cameras in its Southampton port to its 5G network and using AI technology to analyse the images in real time. “Security is by far one of our big priorities,” Van Weezel says.
This level of automation would be much harder if ABP was still using its old outdoor network, which had approximately 200 WiFi points, he says.
Meanwhile, Ford, the US carmaker, is trialling a private 5G network at a UK manufacturing site in Essex. Data is gathered from sensors in the machines that make batteries for electric cars. It is then analysed and processed by technologies including AI and ‘edge’ computing — processing that is done near the source of the data instead of in data centres or the cloud.
If the technology spots a manufacturing defect, such as battery contamination, it sends a message via the network to alert the machine operator. The operators wear augmented-reality glasses to connect them to experts working remotely, who can give guidance on tricky problems.
“There are about 250,000 pieces of data per car battery,” says Chris White, battery systems manager, manufacturing engineering, at Ford. “Such a large amount of data comes out of the machine in such a short amount of time that it would be impossible for someone to get all that information.”
But, for all businesses, the question is whether the benefits of creating a private 5G network will be worth the effort and cost.
A private network requires network spectrum, and hardware, which can include radio units, antennas, networking equipment and edge computing. Some devices will need SIM cards to connect to the network. Creating a private network will also be more expensive than building other types because the technology is new and needs to be more customised.
For the world’s largest companies — operating at multiple sites in dozens of countries — the cost could run into tens of millions of dollars over the deal lifetime, depending on its complexity, says Jason Leigh, research manager and 5G expert at research company IDC.
However, experts believe that private 5G networks will become cheaper as the market matures, making them affordable even for small businesses.
Last year, Amazon Web Services announced plans for a private 5G network service that it said could help organisations get up and running within days.
“Private 5G networks still have some maturing to do,” says Leigh. “[But], if you want reliable and predictable and secure operations, building a private 5G network is not a bad decision.”
Get alerts on 5G networks when a new story is published
UK Edition



  1. The content material is good. I like it. It is clear you’ve a great deal of information on this matter, and you understand a great deal concerning article writing. I agree with many of your points in this article. Thank you.

  2. It’s always been my belief that perfect writing similar to this requires exploration as well as expertise. It’s really apparent you’ve done your research. Quality job!

  3. I actually desire I’d found your current post prior to this, however it is even now remarkable reading. I enjoyed going through your perspective and I agree with most of your own information. This specific is surely remarkable content.

  4. Just a truly good author can get their own point across in words. You are this type of writer and I also value this information a lot more than you understand.

  5. This information is an inspiration. You are a profound and insightful writer who knows how to get your point across with interesting and good quality content. You are outstanding with words.

  6. Your material is certainly not short of amazing. It’s been a very long time since I went through an article so very well-written and straightforward. Continue the excellent work. Thank you.

  7. It’s been my own perception that good quality writing similar to this requires exploration as well as talent. It is very obvious you have done your homework. High-quality work!

  8. I could love tremendous writing whenever I read it. This is really fantastic writing. You make logical and fascinating points which you have offered in a unique way. This is an excellent high quality write-up.

  9. An outstanding article is much more than just writing words. It requires special enthusiasm for the art to generate nice content. I personally can sense the passion in this post and I agree with the points right here.

  10. This is actually an awesome write-up. You have a lot of sense and I also accept many of your opinions. I don’t differ with anything you have composed, however a few of those have me pondering.

  11. I could enjoy outstanding writing whenever I have a look at it. This is really remarkable writing. You truly come up with valid and fascinating points that you have offered in a special manner. It is a wonderful premium quality post.

  12. I liked going through your informative write-up and also thinking about the points you’ve made. You actually come up with a lot of sense. This is actually a decent written piece. Many thanks for sharing this particular so we can all go through it.

  13. It really is one thing to speak your mind in person, and also very another to set things on paper. You have been successful in making this particular topic easily understandable, intriguing and readable.

  14. Only a really good author could possibly get their own point across in words and phrases. You are this kind of writer and I appreciate this info more than you understand.

  15. Handful of writers could make their particular point as efficiently as you’ve right here. I agree with most of exactly what you have written and I was forced into thinking a great deal throughout this specific writing. Really great work!

  16. I am aware just how much work you should have done to get this much info as a whole like this. I’m in agreement with you and I really like your current display.

  17. Very good job on this specific write-up. I am absolutely pleased. This information has put forward a lot more brain power as compared to I have used in a little while. Many thanks for compiling this particular incredible write-up.

  18. Normally I find this kind of info uninteresting as well as monotonous, but you changed that completely for me personally. This particular post takes you right in and won’t let go till you’re finished reading the entire thing.

  19. I truly loved reading your thoughts in this article. I feel your content is actually of top quality and it’s engaging and intelligent. You are really great.

  20. This article is nicely explored and also written. I feel this content valuable info that’s provided in an exciting manner. The things made right here are special and also effectively provided. I personally value wonderful writing similar to this.

  21. It is a high-quality post. It’s extremely smart and the points made are both logical and interesting. This particular should have taken a lot of energy.

  22. Often I need to determine what the writer is trying to state in their own content articles. There’s absolutely no question with regards to your write-up. It’s perfect!

  23. I have put this specific article in my favorite’s menu so I could get back to read it again. My initial impact is you are gifted and this particular is actually impressive material.

  24. It is perhaps the most educational write-up on this specific topic I’ve read recently. I agree and you are on target. Congratulations for a job well completed.

  25. It is the type of article I prefer to find. I am really impressed with how nicely you actually researched this specific content. I personally think it is solid information and I agree.

  26. I have to inform you how fantastic I think your information is within this article. You’ve made things crystal clear and simple to understand. I actually found this to be a remarkably decent article. Thank you.

  27. Thank you for this article. This specific is such a superb informative article with original unique content. This specific material is interesting and written with glorious style. You are extremely educated in this subject matter. This particular is nice article writing!

  28. It requires a unique person to write a great post and you’re this type of individual. The points you make in this writing are well considered and also written.

  29. You have a great article here. I actually enjoyed reading this info since it made me utilize my mind. I personally do not get to do that frequently with most internet based content.

  30. I am simply no specialist in this specific topic, nevertheless I do know what I love to go through. This is awesome material with well organized views.

  31. Your own article is actually most uniquely written and incredibly educational. You had my focus by sharing the views so very effectively. I agree with plenty of your content material. Remarkable quality article.

  32. Many thanks for providing this kind of high quality content material. I’m very satisfied with the way you can compile the content in such an appealing manner.

  33. I have discovered that sometimes I must struggle to decipher just what a blogger is intending to state, but you have made your own information clear.

  34. Passion is what is missing in most of the online material I read nowadays. Your post has the optimum mix of writing love and also well-written material and i’m impressed.

  35. I think excellent information makes the entire world go around. This specific content you have put together is amazing and interesting. With numerous so-called authors to pick from I am happy you’re true. Many thanks.

  36. The information within the article as it is compiled, is really a fresh substitute to the identical uninteresting information found elsewhere. I personally love your own viewpoint.

  37. It’s so enjoyable to come across incredible content material such as this today. This specific post is not only informative, but also intriguing and educational. Really marvelous job.

  38. This is a purely awesome write-up. I believe what exactly you make are not only sensible nonetheless genuinely very well presented. Thank you a lot.

  39. It’s not often a piece of writing fascinates me personally sufficient to have engrossed inside the info. This held me personally interested from start to finish. Thank you.

  40. It really is one thing to speak your mind personally, as well as quite another to set things written. You have succeeded in making this specific topic very easily understandable, intriguing and readable.

  41. There is nothing superior to a brilliant brain stimulating article. This is just exactly what you’ve right here. I am able to hear my gears creaking. I personally agree with this particular material. This is a really well-written high quality write-up. Thanks a lot.

  42. I wish to thank you for posting the article. It’s been an enormous level of assistance. I look ahead to more information such as this in the future. I thank you for your time and efforts.

  43. I decided to show my own admiration for the viewpoint regarding this topic by leaving behind a really good opinion here. Thank you so much for writing quality content for people like me to go through.

  44. You have made a few marvelous observations in your write-up. I am amazed with how well you prepared and also compiled this specific. That just shows there are authors who can truly write. You actually are undoubtedly one.

  45. This post is well searched as well as composed. I believe this article useful info that is presented in an attention-grabbing way. The things mentioned right here are unique and also very well offered. I personally enjoy fantastic writing such as this.

  46. I am thinking about looking over this write-up once more later on. It’s a lot for me to digest, but it is really interesting and I also wish to understand.

Write A Comment