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4 Deployment Models for Private 5G Networks
March 14, 2023 | By Harrison J. Son (son@netmanias.com)
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In this blog, we look at the background of the emergence of private 5G and private 5G operators, and examine four models for enterprises to deploy private 5G networks.

In 2019, Germany's BNetzA, Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and Ofcom in the UK opened 5G frequencies for the industry to promote digital transformation, enabling enterprises to build and operate private 5G networks independent of mobile carriers' public 5G networks. In 2021, Ministry of Science and ICT in Korea opened private 5G frequencies (100MHz@4.7GHz and 600MHz@28GHz).

It has become possible to establish a carrier-grade quality wireless private network in enterprise workplaces.


Figure 1. Current Status of Commercialization of Private 5G Frequencies

in Countries around the World.


Unlike wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which are existing private network technologies, private 5G networks provide unprecedented wireless connectivity with mobility, large capacity (10Gbps), ultra-low latency (up to 1ms), and ultra-connectivity (106 devices/Km2).

As a result, enterprises can implement various types of industrial applications/use cases with different requirements in terms of mobility, capacity, latency, and number of concurrent access terminals, such as camera and AI-based image analysis, robot motion control, and asset tracking.


The Private 5G network is expected to be used in various industrial fields as a key infrastructure for industrial digital innovation.


In December 2019, big companies in Germany began to build a private 5G network.


Figure 2. Isolated Private 5G network built by the Enterprises


In Germany, which opened the Sub-6 5G frequency (3.7-3.8GHz) to the industry first in the world in 2019, German big companies such as Bosch, Volkswagen, Porsche, Rohde & Schwarz, and KUKA began building their own private 5G networks (They design/procurement/build/operate their own private 5G network).


They self-develop a completely closed private network (on-premise type) that is ideal in terms of high security in that data and terminal information generated by the company are distributed only inside the workplace, 5G performance such as large capacity/low latency, and stability regardless of the external network environment.


These companies operate their own private 5G networks with an organization dedicated to designing/constructing/operating 5G networks in-house.


Obstacles to enterprise's deployment of private 5G networks


However, unlike the large companies mentioned above, which have been preparing to build a private 5G private network for several years, the situation of general companies that are not familiar with 5G technology is different from them.


The lack of expertise in 5G mobile communication technology and the high cost of purchasing 5G equipment are acting as major obstacles to enterprise's deployment of private 5G networks.


Lack of expertise: without expertise, it is almost impossible for most companies to understand difficult and complex 5G to design customized 5G networks for themselves, select 5G core and base station vendors, integrate 5G equipment from multiple vendors, and operate themselves.


Expensive equipment cost: all 5G elements in the workplace must be purchased and built. Unlike existing wired LANs or WLANs, 5G equipment is very expensive because it is originally used for mobile communication. In the case of products from major 5G vendors, purchasing one 5G core control unit, one UPF, one 5G CU, one DU, and a few RUs costs nearly $800K.


For private 5G to be successful in the market, it must solve the problem that private 5G equipment is very expensive because it is 3GPP cellar, the long and costly problem of companies integrating equipment from multiple vendors, and the difficulty of existing network operators to operate 5G networks like Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet.


In particular, these problems are more serious in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rather than large corporations with abundant capital and manpower, which is a major obstacle to the rapid spread of private 5G around the world.


Emergence of private 5G operators


In order to solve these difficulties and realize the rapid introduction of private 5G, private 5G operators* that provide private 5G network design, construction and operation services to enterprises are appearing all over the world.


* Private 5G operator: An operator that provides private 5G service to enterprises using private 5G frequencies (SI company, Telco/CATV operator, cloud service provider, mobile operator, etc.).

Japan: NSSOL, Fujitsu, Hitachi, NTT East Japan, NTT Com, NEC, NESIC, Ehime CATV, Mitsubishi Real Estate, Okinawa Cable TV, etc.
Germany: DT, Vodafone Germany, Telefonica Germany, Becon, Siticom, Cocus, Umlaut, etc.
USA: AT&T, Verizon, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Betacom, etc.

Korea: Naver Cloud, LG CNS, SK Networks Service, Nable Communications, CJ Olive Networks, KT MOS, Sejong Telecom, Wizcore, etc.



Figure 3. Private 5G Services (Private 5G Operators)


These operators provide 5G network design, construction, and operation as a service to enterprises that are struggling to build due to lack of expertise (Figure 3 - A).


In addition, in order to facilitate the introduction of private 5G networks,

(Figure 3 - B) It also provides monthly subscription services to lower the initial investment cost of enterprises.

(Figure 3 - C) 5G core, which is the most expensive of 5G network components, is placed in the cloud of a private 5G operator rather than located at each enterprise site, and multiple enterprises share the 5G core (network slicing), reducing the investment cost per enterprise site. This further lowers the subscription service fee.

The components of the private 5G network are the same as the public 5G network used by general consumers mainly for smartphones, and are largely composed of 5G core control units (AMF, SMF, etc.), 5G core data units (UPF), 5G base stations (CU, DU, RU), and 5G terminals (UE).


Depending on the physical distribution location of these 5G network components inside and outside the enterprise site, various deployment models for private 5G network are possible.


There are four major private 5G network deployment models that have emerged in the market


Private 5G deployment models can be classified into four major categories as follows, depending on the builder and the physical location of 5G components.


Figure 4. Private 5G Network Deployment Models


① Enterprise DIY (Dedicated, on-premise network): enterprise builds all components of the 5G network on enterprise site

② Private 5G Service (Dedicated, on-premise network): private 5G operator builds all components of the 5G network on enterprise site

③ Private 5G Service (5G Core Control Plan Sharing): private 5G operator builds only 5G user plane within the enterprise site

④ private 5G service (5G Core Sharing): private 5G operator builds only 5G RAN within the enterprise site


Depending on the private 5G network deployment models, there are advantages and disadvantages in terms of deployment/operation costs, low-latency application support capabilities, large-capacity application support capabilities, stability, enterprise data privacy, and full control (see Table 1).


Enterprises that want to introduce private 5G networks can build private 5G networks by themselves by purchasing equipment from 5G vendors (on-premise type), or use private 5G network deployment and operation services (on-premise type, 5G core control plane sharing, and 5G core sharing) in consideration of their security policies, major applications, and secured budgets.


Table 1. Comparison of private 5G network deployment models

 Who Builds Enterprise DIY Private 5G Operators
 Network   Architecture

 ① Dedicated, On-

      Premise Network

 ② Dedicated, On-

      Premise Network

 ③ 5G Core Control

      Plane Sharing

 ④ 5G Core Sharing

 Cloud of 

 Private 5G


 -  -   5G Core CP  UPF, 5G Core CP, MEC
 On Site

 5G UE, 5G RAN,

 5G Core, MEC

 5G UE, 5G RAN,

 5G Core, MEC

 5G UE, 5G RAN, UPF,


 5G UE, 5G RAN

 Security (Data


 No data leakage outside the enterprise

 All data in the enterprise

 is externally leaked.
 Only for enterprises that

 allow data leakage.



 Excellent support for large-capacity applications with a data plane

 established in the enterprise site.

 Requires large-capacity

 backhaul link.
 Internet VPN is also




 Excellent support for low-latency applications with a data plane established

 in the enterprise site.

 Applicable only if the

 backhaul transmission

 delay due to distance is

 lower than the allowable 

 delay of the application.
 Expensive quality

 guaranteed backhaul

 line required.

 Stability  Independent of enterprise external network failure

 Affected by a communication failure/disaster

 outside the workplace (Communication/service


 Backhaul  No need for backhaul lines

 Since only control

 messages are carried,

 low-capacity, best-effort

 lines are also possible.

 Because user data is

 also carried, low-latency

 applications require 

 expensive quality-

 guaranteed lines.

 applications require

 best-effort high-capacity


 Access to the


 network in the


 Access to the enterprise network from UPF in the workplace

 A leased line is required

 between the UPF of the

 cloud and the enterprise

 network in the workplace



 Sufficient number of slices can be created (e.g. slices for each 

 department/application within the enterprise)

 Depends on the private

 5G service provider, but

 usually provides a few

 slices for each


 Full Control

 Enterprises can fully

 control private 5G

 networks, such as 

 up/down speed

 adjustment, network slice

 creation, access

 authority control for each

 slice, device addition,

 and QoS/permission


 Enterprise control over the private 5G network is also possible within the

 range provided according to the service policy of the private 5G operator.


 An enterprise purchases

 base stations and cores.
 The initial investment

 cost of the company is

 very high.

 The service fee is high

 due to the operator's

 large investment cost

 (base station, UPF, 5GC

 CP) for each enterprise


 Low service fee due to

 reduced investment cost

 (base station, UPF) for

 each enterprise site.

 The service fee is the 

 lowest because the

 operator's investment

 cost (base station) of

 each enterprise site is

 the lowest.

 In-house 5G


 Need for 5G experts

 inside the enterprise

 Possible without 5G experts inside the enterprise




pdelarbre 2023-03-31 16:40:51

Interesting study although the comparison seems complicated to me since the costs of renting the link to the central equipment is never taken into account. Moreover, public mobile operators use 5G platforms much more complex and therefore expensive to maintain than 5G solutions dedicated to private networks. Finally, the cost of renting the platform (edge or cloud) from the cloud provider is significantly more expensive than deploying it on dedicated hardware.

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[HFR Private 5G: my5G]


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