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ABI Research: Outdoor Use Cases Drive Private Cellular

January 16, 2023

As 2023 kicks off, predictions abound on the technology innovations expected in the year ahead. In its new whitepaper, 74 Technology Trends That Will—and Will Not—Shape 2023, analysts from global technology intelligence firm ABI Research identify 41 trends that will shape the technology market and 33 others that, although attracting vast amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months. In the 5G Markets space, outdoor use cases will drive private cellular, but Private 5G won’t take off.

“War, inflation, political upheaval, energy shortages, and the ongoing fallout from a global pandemic are still creating a persistent sense of uncertainty. Labor shortages, supply chain issues, falling consumer sentiment, and rising input costs are squeezing many markets. However, the common aspect between all of these is that technology can either be the anchor dragging down operations or the mainsail powering companies forward. The devil is in the detail of the how, who, what, and when of technology investment and implementation. This whitepaper serves as a helpful blueprint for building realistic expectations of key technology markets and verticals,” says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research.

What Will Happen in 2023:

Outdoor Use Cases Will Drive Private Cellular

What has started throughout 2022 already will continue and become even more prominent in 2023. Old battle lines between Wi-Fi and, specifically, 5G are reappearing, as the most tangible value proposition for enterprises seems to be the fact that, in comparison to Wi-Fi, private cellular (and 5G specifically) will be able to bring connectivity to particularly large and remote coverage areas. A private cellular network will be able to connect these outdoor sites (e.g., oil or gas fields, airfields of airports, or shipping ports) much more efficiently than other wireless connectivity technologies (e.g., legacy Wi-Fi), which creates a real value proposition for enterprise owners and managers.

What Won’t Happen in 2023:

Private 5G Will Not Take Off 

In line with critical enterprise 5G features (URLLC and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN)) only starting to appear in commercially available chipsets by the end of 2023, Release 16-capable industrial-grade devices will be available at scale by 1Q 2024. As only the large-scale availability of Release 16-capable chipsets will drive down device costs (and ease the Private 5G value proposition), it is expected that 5G will begin to pick up only after the beginning of the following year.

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