In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile

A survey of mid-size, multi-site enterprises conducted by Netertes Research suggests a large number are seriously looking at replacing a Wi-Fi network with a 4G-based private network alternative. The idea that a private 4G network could replace Wi-Fi might sound outlandish, but new possibilities will exist once Citizens Broadband Radio Service is available, allowing enteprises to create their own local 4G networks without necessarily buying spectrum licenses.

Among the expected advantages of private 4G networks are enhanced security and lower latency, compared to Wi-Fi.

As you would expect, Wi-Fi now predominates among the firms surveyed, with more than 86 percent of respondents using Wi-Fi. But many already use private networks based on 4G, 3G, 2G or Zigbee. 

Most organizations will keep their existing primary network, but six percent say they will add a new network based on a different technology. Perhaps a quarter plan to shift their primary wireless network to a new technology. 

None plan to abandon private networking for carrier-provided options. 

The leading option to replace an existing network or to be an added network is somevariation on 4G, including the new option of Citizens Broadband Radio Service. About 41 percent of those making a change say they will do so. 

Of 302 study participants, many came from just four industries: manufacturing, 18.5 percent; retail, 16.9 percent; healthcare and pharmaceuticals, 15.9 percent; and hospitality and tourism, 14.6 percent.

The remainder came from: education, 10.9 percent; financial services, 7.6 percent; energy and utilities,3.6 percent; warehousing and storage, 3 percent; logistics and transport, 3 percent; commercial real estate management, 2.6 percent; and other, 3.3 percent, Nemertes says. 

Some 71.8 percent of respondents work for firms making $300M or less annually. About 82.8 percent have fewer than 20 locations. The remainder are split roughly evenly between mid-sized companies (16.2 percent earning $300M to $1B annually, 5.4 percent having 21 to 50 locations) and large companies (12 percent earning more than $1B per year, 11.8 percent having more than 50 locations).

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