Intelbras sees private networks picking up speed in 2023

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Intelbras sees private networks picking up speed in 2023

Brazilian electronics manufacturer Intelbras sees private telecom network projects gaining more traction this year, even though the business model and the return on investment by enterprises providing these services might not yet be fully defined.

That is what Carlos Reich (pictured), head of 5G network solutions at the company, told BNamericas.

Reich was appointed leader of a new 5G area created by Intelbras to cover projects in this segment, including private networks. 

Founded in 1976, the company is known for manufacturing products for electronic security, image management, switches and telephony.

“Private networks are still a budding niche. The network is a means, not an end, and we still need to evolve a lot in the industry in terms of automation so that 5G becomes effectively required,” Reich said.

Despite this, Intelbras is already manufacturing and supplying customer premises equipment (CPE) for some projects. CPE functions just like a Wi-Fi modem in homes and offices, but it radiates the 5G signal instead of internet.

Qualcomm is providing the chipset and the wireless transmission platform embedding the module. Intelbras is already shipping “several thousands” of these CPEs, in the sub-6GHz band, to local telecom operators.

These projects include a network in the Brazilian port of Suape, in Pernambuco state, where Intelbras also has a factory.

“We have a test running in the port that is using millimeter wave (MM wave) with Claro. 5G is necessary there,” he said. The MM wave band uses the 26Ghz frequency. 

In an interview with BNamericas earlier month, port management director Nilson Monteiro said that Suape was testing a 5G-based access control system, but ruled out plans to install a private network. 

Intelbras is also supplying certain equipment for Nestlé's private network project. The food giant is developing the network with Ericsson, Claro and Embratel

Intelbras has also signed a contract with an agricultural machinery manufacturer, Reich said, but he did not provide further details.


In parallel with these initiatives, Intelbras is developing an internal private network at its headquarters in Santa Catarina state as part of a laboratory and test field.

The goal is for companies and potential customers interested in a private network to be able to how such a system operates in practice. 

For this internal network, Intelbras will use a small cell provided by US manufacturer Airspan.

Other partners include Qualcomm, Logicalis, as the systems integrator, and Microsoft, which is providing the core of the cloud network. According to Reich, this is Microsoft's first deal to supply a network core in Brazil and possibly in Latin America.

Coordination is being provided by the Telecom Infra Project, a Facebook-led industry initiative on open networks

Intelbras applied to Anatel for a private network license, known as an SLP, in the 3.7GHz-3.8GHz frequency, and is now waiting for the regulator's approval to activate the equipment. Reich expects that to happen as early as February.

Initially, this network is meant only for the approval of equipment and tests for third parties. In the future, though, it may serve Intelbras' own automation purposes.

“We do have a desire to install [private 5G] at the factory. But there's a whole automation assessment that needs to be done. What are we going to do with 5G? For what application? What will the robot replace? What gain will it provide, will it pay for itself? All of that is still up in the air,” he said

Amilcar Scheffer, Intelbras’ head of networks, notes that 5G is not necessarily the answer to all industry demands.

“If I need to have ultra-low latency, then it makes sense. But if the application is for regular machines, just to collect data, it's not worth spending on a 5G network. It's going to be like a cannon to kill a mosquito,” Scheffer told BNamericas.

Subscribe to the most trusted business intelligence platform in Latin America. Let us show you our solutions for Suppliers, Contractors, Operators, Government, Legal, Financial and Insurance.

Subscribe to Latin America’s most trusted business intelligence platform.

Other projects in: ICT

Get critical information about thousands of ICT projects in Latin America: what stages they're in, capex, related companies, contacts and more.

Other companies in: ICT (Brazil)

Get critical information about thousands of ICT companies in Latin America: their projects, contacts, shareholders, related news and more.

  • Company: Vtex
  • Vtex, founded in 1999 in Brazil, provides companies with cloud commerce platforms. Based in Sao Paulo, it is present in 17 countries and has Latin American offices in Argentina,...