3Q 2020

Wireless Networking and Energy: LTE Standards Set the Stage for the 5G Era

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is here. Energy industry participants include utilities, oil & gas (O&G), and mining operations. Stakeholders must embrace a full range of digitization technologies to remain safe, efficient, reliable, and competitive as the operating environments of these century-old verticals transform. Foundational to Industry 4.0 is ubiquitous, flexible, and future-proof communications networking. 

To date, most utilities, O&G, and mining companies have taken a scattershot approach, building ad hoc, application-centric networks to perform just a few tasks. They may be operating dozens of incompatible networks per site, with a mix of wired and wireless, public and private solutions performing disparate functions. Looking ahead, a strategic, holistic, long-term plan should be created for full-territory and sitewide connectivity. A strategy built around the family of long-term evolution (LTE) wireless technologies, based on global standards set by the 3G Partnership Program (3GPP), presents an efficacious solution poised to evolve as 5G technology matures.

This Guidehouse Insights report addresses why energy industry verticals should consider the LTE family of technologies for their strategic long-term connectivity needs. It describes each of the LTE-based networking protocols and how they will seamlessly evolve into the 5G framework. It also discusses the various ways LTE networking services can be bought or built and covers the options energy and utility vertical participants have for spectrum needs. It includes a comprehensive list of IIoT use cases enabled by LTE protocols, including Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT), LTE Cat-M1, LTE Cat-1, and 4G and 5G LTE. 

Pages 25
Tables | Charts | Figures 6
  • What is the LTE family of wireless networking protocols?
  • What are the characteristics of each LTE-based networking protocol and what use cases do they support in electric, water, and gas utility, digital oilfield, and smart mining verticals?
  • In what ways can LTE-based networking be acquired?
  • What spectrum options are available for private LTE deployments?
  • How does shared spectrum fit into the mix?
  • Networking solution vendors
  • IoT solution vendors
  • Wireless carriers
  • Electric utilities
  • Water utilities
  • Gas utilities
  • Oil & gas production firms
  • Oil & gas services firms
  • Mining operators
  • Federal and state policymakers
  • Private financial institutions
  • Universities and research organizations
  • Investor community




Networking Requirements at Energy Enterprises Are Growing

Digitization Is Imperative to Future Energy Industry Success

3G Partnership Program LTE-Based Standards Interoperate to Meet a Range of Requirements

LTE Comes in Many Flavors

5G Is Becoming a Reality

LTE Networks Support a Multitude of IIoT Applications in Energy Verticals

Spectrum for LTE-Based Networks Is Now Accessible

Multiple Appropriate Spectrum Bands for LTE-Based Networks Exist

LTE in Unlicensed Bands



Public Carrier Spectrum Is Becoming More Attractive

FirstNet - AT&T

Spectrum Sharing

CBRS Shared Spectrum Is Available in the US

Private Spectrum Options for LTE-Based IIoT Networks Are Available

US Spectrum Options for Private LTE Vary

International Spectrum Options for Private LTE Expand

The Energy Industry Should Rally Around LTE-Based Networks

Reconsider Public Carrier Offerings

Partner with Carriers for Infrastructure Sharing and Cost Savings

Leverage Free or Low Cost Shared Spectrum for Private LTE Trials

Consider Lease or Purchase of Private Spectrum for the Most Future-Proof Approach

Coordinate Among Smaller Entities to Bring Market Sway

Embrace Tailored Offerings to Energy Verticals from Carriers and Infrastructure Vendors

  • Networking and Communications Infrastructure Revenue by Energy Sector, World Markets: 2020-2029
  • Networking and Communications Infrastructure Revenue by LTE-Based vs. Non LTE-Based, World Markets: 2020-2029
  • The Three Legs of 5G Networks
  • 3GPP 5G Release Timeline
  • CBRS User Tiers
  • Energy IIoT Applications Supported by LTE-Based Networks
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