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Market Research Report

Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks

Published by Navigant Research Product code 611042
Published Content info 19 Pages; 4 Tables, Charts & Figures
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
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Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks
Published: March 7, 2018 Content info: 19 Pages; 4 Tables, Charts & Figures

When it comes to wireless connectivity for smart grid applications, utilities have predominantly utilized unlicensed spectrum bands rather than acquiring licensed spectrum. The reasons are many: licensed spectrum is expensive, many existing smart grid solutions use unlicensed spectrum, and to date these solutions have done the job well. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes pervasive, there are risks that unlicensed spectrum bands will become clogged. Data transmission may slow or become unreliable.

As such, spectrum ownership or other creative partnering or lease deals will become more attractive-or even critical-to long-term utility solutions. As with real estate, they are not making more spectrum. It always (eventually) rises in value and should be thought of as a long-term investment. There are many licensed spectrum options available to utilities-more than many may realize. And while networking investments are often driven by shorter-term rate case and regulator demands or specific application needs, licensed spectrum has advantages that will persist for utility owners (or leaseholders) for decades. As the world becomes increasingly connected, those with exclusive rights to spectrum will own an ever more valuable asset-one with the potential to become a real competitive advantage in the coming decades.

This Navigant Research report covers the options for and case studies of licensed wireless solutions for utilities and provides actionable recommendations for utilities. The study provides an overview of 17 licensed spectrum bands available for purchase or lease for utility applications and discusses the use cases and rationale for utility spectrum ownership over the long term. It explains the differences between leased and owned spectrum and describes emerging shared spectrum paradigms. The report also provides examples of utility spectrum purchases and discloses pricing trends. Private LTE options are discussed as well, including unlicensed LTE.

Key Questions Addressed:

  • What are the advantages of licensed spectrum for utilities?
  • Why will utilities increasingly need licensed spectrum?
  • What is spectrum sharing?
  • Which vendors own licensed spectrum for utility lease in smart grid deployments?
  • What spectrum bands are available for utility lease or purchase?

Who needs this report?

  • Utilities
  • Utility regulators
  • Communications infrastructure vendors
  • Communications service providers
  • Communications regulators
  • Spectrum owners and brokers
  • Smart grid solutions vendors
  • Investor community
Table of Contents
Product Code: SI-PWUA-18

Table of Contents




Licensed, Unlicensed, and Shared Spectrum

  • Unlicensed Spectrum
  • Licensed Spectrum
  • Spectrum Sharing
  • Spectrum Bonding
  • Public Carrier Spectrum

Licensed Solutions Support Major Utility Investment

  • Owned Spectrum Options Are Many
  • Utility-Owned Spectrum Offers Better Security and Control
  • 217 MHz-219 MHz Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS)
  • 220 MHz National Rural Telecommunications Council (NRTC)
  • 450 MHz-470 MHz
  • 700 MHz
  • 700 MHz A Block Guard Band
  • 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR)
  • 900 MHz Multiple Address System (MAS)
  • 900 MHz Narrowband PCS (NPCS)
  • 1.4 GHz (US)
  • 1.8 GHz (Canada)
  • 3.65 GHz
  • 4.9 GHz
  • Microwave Frequencies
  • Third-Party Owned Spectrum Can Speed Time to Market
  • Pt2Mpt Solutions
  • pdvWireless
  • Carrier Spectrum
  • Shared Spectrum: 3.5 GHz: CBRS
  • There Are Multiple Appropriate Spectrum Bands for Private LTE
  • Spectrum Costs

Spectrum Ownership Is a Competitive Advantage

  • Unlicensed Band Will Inevitably Become Crowded
  • We Are Not Exaggerating
  • To Do This, They Will Need Spectrum

Utilities Need to Take Advantage of Licensed Spectrum Options and Coordinate Efforts at Standardizing

  • New Business Models and Services Will Almost Certainly Demand Licensed Spectrum
  • Decide Whether to Own or Lease
  • Leasing Offers Ease of Entry
  • Ownership Provides (Better) Control
  • Coordination Among Smaller Utilities Brings Market Sway

List of Tables and Figures

  • CINEI Eligible Markets
  • Space Data Spectrum Sales to Energy Market Participants
  • EWA/PDV Proposed Spectrum Reallocation
  • CBRS vs. Traditional Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum Licenses
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