Private 5G networks

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5G private networks

A 5G private network is a high-performance wireless network designed for large commercial sites, offering unparalleled speed, security, and coverage.

A 5G private network utilises a dedicated spectrum to provide guaranteed bandwidth for connecting devices, sensors, and machines across a vast area.

A 5G private network can serve as a standalone wireless internet solution or supplement existing WiFi services.

In this guide we cover:

The key benefits of a 5G private network

These six key benefits explain why 5G private networks are increasingly being adopted in factories, warehouses, hospitals, airports, and stadiums across the UK.

<h3>High performance</h3>

High performance

Private 5G networks do not suffer from contention (where numerous internet users slow down broadband speeds), guaranteeing reliable high speeds and low latency across a large network area.

The recent advent of 5G technology enables gigabit internet across a wide range.

<h3>Network encryption</h3>

Network encryption

Unlike some WiFi networks, private 5G networks are always encrypted, creating a secure environment for data transmission. Only authorised SIM cards can access the network, thus mitigating cybersecurity threats such as malware attacks.

💡 Encryption encodes data exchanged on the 5G network, ensuring that it cannot be read by individuals outside the network.



A private 5G network offers an extensive range, with even basic 5G access points providing five times the range compared to a WiFi router.

5G private networks require significantly less cabling, function both indoors and outdoors, and suffer no blind spots due to physical obstructions.



Devices that move, including laptops and autonomous robots, seamlessly hand over connections between 5G access points across an entire site.

This means that devices do not experience a loss in connectivity, which is often encountered when switching between WiFi routers without a mesh network.

<h3>Enabling the IoT revolution</h3>

Enabling the IoT revolution

A 5G private network provides the speed, coverage, and reliability required by IoT devices and mobile autonomous robots.

These devices are swiftly revolutionising the logistics and manufacturing industries.

<h3>Augmented Reality</h3>

Augmented Reality

In the future, augmented reality, where smart glasses provide a digital overlay to our vision, is expected to have many industrial applications.

Although currently niche, these devices will require the low latency and extensive range connections provided by a 5G private network.

The steps to deploy a 5G private network

Our enterprise network solution specialists are on hand to manage the rollout of a 5G private network. Provide a few details above to request a call back from our expert team.

The five key steps to deploy a 5G private network at a commercial site in the UK are as follows:

<h3>Network design</h3>

Network design

Engage a network specialist to help design your 5G private network.

The initial design should assess the number of devices that will use the network, their application requirements, and the site size to determine the location and hardware requirements for 5G access points.

Security and redundancy specifications should also be considered as part of the network design stage.

We recommend fully budgeting for the cost of implementing a 5G private network as part of the network design stage.

<h3>Engaging a 5G provider</h3>

Engaging a 5G provider

As of June 2024, there are 17 5G network operators in the UK, including EE, Vodafone, Three, O2, and Sky.

You must engage a 5G network operator that has sufficient spectrum availability in your location to support your private 5G network.

💡Find out more about the availability of 5G network operators below.

<h3>Installing 5G access points</h3>

Installing 5G access points

5G cellular access points will be installed at your site to deliver comprehensive 5G network coverage.

These can be simply mounted on walls and ceilings using equipment similar to that used for a WiFi router.

For larger sites, the 5G access points can be mounted on dedicated 5G masts to support an extended range.

💡 For one-off events, 5G private network providers can offer mobile 5G masts.

<h3>5G network configuration</h3>

5G network configuration

Network managers can configure application-level thresholds for latency and speed, as well as implement network security criteria.

Access to a 5G network operator’s platform allows for managing and optimising the network, as well as registering new devices.

<h3>Connect devices to the network</h3>

Connect devices to the network

Network administrators issue eSIMs or physical SIM cards to onboard devices to the network.

5G private networks support the connection of laptops, tablets, phones, and a growing range of IoT devices.

💡Read on for potential issues with 5G private network device compatibility.

The cost of a 5G private network

There’s no getting around it: implementing a 5G private network at a large commercial property is expensive.

However, achieving complete coverage at large sites requires five times as many WiFi routers as 5G access points, making the cost comparable to a tethered fibre optic broadband connection with a WiFi mesh network.

The cost of a 5G private network depends on:

  • Size of the network – The number of 5G access points (and the associated equipment required) scales with the size of your property, meaning larger sites are more costly.
  • Type of mobile internet – Businesses seeking the scale of a 5G private network but at a lower cost might consider a 4G LTE private network, which offers similar scalability but at reduced internet speeds.
  • Existing LAN infrastructure – If your commercial site already has local area network equipment in place, this can be utilised to build a 5G private network, potentially reducing costs.
  • 5G spectrum availability – The fees charged by a mobile internet provider for dedicated 5G spectrum depend on the availability of 5G spectrum at your location.

We recommend working with 5G private network specialists to assist with conducting an initial survey and budgeting your 5G private network project.

Our enterprise broadband specialists possess the knowledge and experience required for the deployment of 5G private networks. Request a call back from a specialist today.

5G private network contracts

There are several options for 5G private network contracts, specifically:

  • 5G private network as a service – Similar to a standard business broadband contract, a provider will supply the hardware, and you’ll pay an agreed monthly fee for a set term. This contract type covers maintenance, support, and 5G carrier fees.
  • Wholly owned 5G private networks – In this model, an organisation purchases all the 5G hardware themselves, manages the network in-house, and contracts directly with a 5G carrier for their dedicated spectrum.
  • Hybrid 5G private network model – Here, a business either owns or leases the hardware and uses a cloud service to host the network.

Request a call back from our enterprise broadband specialists to discuss 5G private network financing options with one of our experts.

Alternatives to a 5G Private Network

Large British businesses comparing business broadband options need to understand all the connection possibilities available to them.

Our experts have outlined the alternatives for wireless internet across a large commercial site, comparing their performance to that of a 5G private network:

Public 5G networks

In small business broadband, public 5G networks in the UK’s major cities now provide one of the cheapest fast broadband connection options.

However, there are three key reasons why a private 5G network is a superior option for a large business:

  • Contention: Public 5G networks are prone to connectivity problems when there are too many users on the network.
  • Cybersecurity: Public 5G networks are not encrypted like private networks, so they do not provide the same cybersecurity advantages.
  • Range and Speed: The range and speed of public 5G networks depend on the locations of existing 5G infrastructure. In a private 5G network, these can be optimised at the design stage.

💡Check out our full article on is 5G faster than fibre broadband.

Leased line WiFi

Leased line broadband connections can provide large commercial sites with broadband bandwidth of up to 10 Gbps.

Large sites can then use a series of business broadband routers to provide wireless connections throughout the site.

A leased line connection with a modern router will provide faster wireless internet speed but over a much shorter range compared to a 5G private network.

At a large commercial site, such as an airport, the number of routers and the cables required for universal coverage can make a 5G private network a better option.

Satellite broadband

Satellite business broadband already offers complete wireless coverage to the British Isles.

Some large commercial sites could utilise satellite broadband dishes on vehicles to provide wireless connections across a large area with minimal upfront costs.

The main issue with a satellite business broadband connection is the long latency, as data must travel to and from space. A private 5G network offers significantly better performance.

Other considerations for 5G private networks

Our enterprise broadband experts present the following key considerations when appraising a 5G private network for your business:

5G private network scalability

A 5G network has two aspects that make it scalable as the wireless internet requirements of a site change.

Firstly, a 5G private network can support many hundreds of devices, so adding more users shouldn’t be an issue.

Additionally, more access points can be added, or existing 5G access points can be moved to extend the coverage or meet the speed requirements of a 5G private network.

Device compatibility

Modern laptops and other devices easily connect with WiFi routers by simply requiring a password. Unfortunately, quickly connecting to a 5G private network can be less straightforward.

Connecting a device to a 5G private network requires a network administrator to issue an eSIM or a physical SIM card. While this is excellent for cybersecurity, it makes connecting new users more burdensome.

While IoT devices are typically compatible with SIM cards, this is not the case for laptops. Some laptops do not have eSIM functionality or a SIM card slot, making it problematic to provide wireless internet to infrequent visitors to your site.

5G network operators

A 5G private network relies on a 5G network operator granting your business the use of a dedicated part of the 5G spectrum.

5G coverage in the UK is patchy, with network providers concentrating the infrastructure in the largest cities.

Here is a list of the biggest 5G network operators in the UK:

For a full list of 5G network operators and the cities where they have bandwidth, here’s a link to – Coverage

💡BT business broadband is the only one of these 5G providers offering to provide private 5G as a Service. Visit BT 5G private network.