At Least a Dozen Licensed Spectrum Options Are Readily Available and Affordable for Utilities Today

Spectrum ownership and creative deals are expected to become more attractive for long-term utility solutions

A new report from Navigant Research examines licensed wireless solutions for utilities, providing recommendations and an overview of 17 spectrum bands available.

When it comes to wireless connectivity for smart grid applications, utilities have predominantly used unlicensed spectrum bands rather than acquiring licensed spectrum, in part because of the high cost. However, as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes pervasive, data transmission may slow or become unreliable, prompting utilities to consider the switch to licensed solutions. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, there are at least a dozen licensed spectrum options readily available and affordable for utilities today.

“While smart grid solutions that use unlicensed spectrum bands are readily available and have done the job for utilities to date, as more people and things become connected, there is a real risk of interference and performance degradation in unlicensed bands,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Utilities should consider licensed spectrum options for a variety of applications today and to ensure network control and capacity availability for the longer term.”

Spectrum ownership or other creative partnering or lease deals are expected to become more attractive—or even critical—to long-term utility solutions, according to the report. 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, providing those with exclusive rights a real competitive advantage.

The report, Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks, 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. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

Contact: Lindsay Funicello-Paul

+1.781.270.8456

lindsay.funicello.paul@navigant.com

* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks, is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.

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