Colombia , Brazil and Chile

Private network projects power on in Latin America

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Private network projects power on in Latin America

With the adoption of 5G, the private network model – dedicated to corporate and industrial connectivity – has gained traction in Latin America given the productivity and automation gains that the new technology is set to bring in terms of latency and data transmission.

Across the region, pilots and early-stage deployments have mostly taken place among manufacturing, mining, oil and gas and utility companies.

Brazil's WEG, a global manufacturer of industrial and electrical-electronic equipment, has about 400 employees exclusively focused on business and digital solutions, including 5G private networks, Carlos Grillo, the firm's chief digital officer, told BNamericas.

WEG has been at the forefront of testing private network environments, doing so at its manufacturing sites in Brazil. Last year, the company concluded a test in partnership with Ericsson and Claro which managed to achieve 9 milliseconds in latency time. 

In comparison, 4G networks typically have latency ranging from 30-70ms. Latency is the time it takes for information to reach its destination.

One of the objectives of WEG's project has been to evaluate the performance of IoT applications and the connection of devices to the 5G cellular network, assessing the throughput (data speed) and latency that are most suitable for each use case.

WEG's pilot involved the Brazilian industrial development agency (ABDI) and telecoms regulator Anatel, which temporarily made spectrum available in the 3.5GHz frequency for the tests.

Ericsson's technology involved mobile edge computing and network slicing and an expansion of testing is now expected.

According to Grillo, WEG is focused on software and sensors for diagnosing the health of assets, such as motors, generators, transformers and inverters, as well as management solutions for production activities, like manufacturing execution systems and electricity consumption, always using artificial intelligence and machine learning.


On Monday, Nokia announced that it has deployed a private wireless network with Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals for Minera Centinela. 

According to Nokia, the network will allow the mining group to accelerate its digital transformation and support secure and reliable operations at its Centinela copper mine in northern Chile.

Nokia designed and deployed a 4.9G/LTE solution, with Nokia AirScale radio equipment, mobile packet core, IP/MPLS service aggregation routers, and Wavence microwave transmission.

The network was deployed in four months and is already in operation, the Finnish group said, initially connecting a fleet of autonomous trucks. 

It is expected to support a wide array of activities as part of a five-year digitization plan focused on safer and more efficient operations, Nokia said.


Also on Monday, Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol, Accenture and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a first-of-its-kind solution for water intelligence and management to help advance sustainability and operational efficiencies for energy companies.

According to the companies, the cloud-based water management solution is expected to become a benchmark industry platform, with a single source of data, connecting existing ad hoc information to water volume and quality analyses, as well as cost optimization across the value chain to support decision-making.

The initiative also encompasses applying advanced analytics to optimize water management and enhance integrated water efficiency management, as well as creating an ecosystem where participants can share data and promote water reuse within and between industries.

According to a just released report by IDC, worldwide private LTE/5G wireless infrastructure revenues are estimated to reach US$8.3bn by 2026, nearly five times the US$1.7bn in 2021. 

IDC said the market is expected to reach a five-year compound annual growth rate of 35.7% over the 2022-26 period.

The research group defines private LTE/5G wireless infrastructure as any 3GPP-based cellular network deployed for a specific enterprise/industry vertical customer that provides dedicated access to private resources. 

This means dedicated spectrum, and dedicated hardware and software infrastructure, and which has the ability to support a range of use cases spanning fixed wireless access, traditional and enhanced mobile broadband, IoT endpoints/sensors, and ultra-reliable, low-latency applications.

“Most private 5G projects to date remain as either trials or pre-commercial deployments. Continued uptake for private LTE and real-world applications of private 5G deployed across the manufacturing, warehousing, and broader industrial sector indicate that while private 5G remains in its infancy from a market size perspective, the appetite and interest for what it can deliver is very real,” IDC wrote.

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