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5G non-terrestrial networks ‘growing at 38% a year’, says report

Boliden mine.png

The market for 5G networks that are satellite-based or come from high altitude platforms is growing at 38% a year, according to a new report.

But the report seems to include enterprise 5G services. Research and Markets, which has published the report, cites Boliden, a Swedish mine operator, for which Ericsson has built a private 5G network.

Research and Markets calls its report 5G NTN Markets, the abbreviation standing for “non-terrestrial networks”. The research company explains: “These are networks that can satisfy requests for anywhere and anytime connection by offering wide coverage and ensuring service availability, continuity, and scalability. NTN includes satellite communication networks, high-altitude platform systems (HAPS), and air-to-ground networks.”

The report says that the market for NTNs was US$3.2 billion in 2022 and will be $16.1 billion in 2027.

Mining is one application. But “also the increasing need to support vessels with high data rates for applications, such as video and data file transfer, is driving the demand for 5G NTN solutions”.

Ericsson itself says Boliden – a copper-mining company – uses 5G, but Ericsson’s own case study does not mention any use of satellites or HAPS.

The Swedish vendor says the need was for “fully remote monitoring, involving very high bandwidth and low latency requirements”, that might “carry many other autonomous and remotely controlled machines, of different brands and with different control systems” and reach “all corners of the mine” in order to “track and coordinate mobile equipment fleets and many sensors and other devices within one communications network”. But satellites and HAPS are not necessarily involved.