August 27, 2020

Building Strong Profits with 5G Services

The 5G return on investment opportunity will require on a focus on the entire network, including the all-important operational software ecosystem, for service providers to gain maximum benefits.

With hundreds of 5G networks around the world and investments being made at scale, we are starting to see commercial models start to make profits from 5G-specific services. It is also becoming obvious that a focus on the RAN has led some MNOs to neglect the BSS/OSS/MANO software higher up the stack, which is where new service profits can be won or lost. What’s clear is that operators will need to take a more holistic view in order to obtain the value from their significant spending in 5G.

Service-centric Operations for 5G
The concept of 5G network slicing is founded on providing hyper-personalized service characteristics for specific use cases or based on pre-agreed SLAs. This usage of 5G RAN will come into its own when standalone 5G networks become more commonplace, with a 5G core, rather than a 5G RAN using EPC built for the 4G LTE network. The new service models around network slicing will vary widely but represent high-revenue opportunities in industrial IoT, automotive, healthcare, smart city, drones, utilities and many more.

Implementing a service-centric, digital operations strategy for 5G in BSS/OSS is the only way to ensure that operations are optimized, automation is maximized and the ROI model for 5G is improved by maximizing profit margins. Matching the hyper-personalized concepts at play in network slicing and other 5G functionality, is the central tenant of BSS/OSS, but how is this achievable?

Centralize, Standardize and Automate
Digital BSS must bring together all channels and support all lines of business on a single platform so 5G-specific services can be ordered and activated as part of larger service bundles. The BSS must have centralized management of all contextual information in its catalogs and inventories to optimally link the customer needs with the services rendered in the network. AI will ensure customer journeys are automated with contextual intelligence rather than a repetitive arbitrary process.

Digital OSS must ensure that BSS information seamlessly flows through into rapid creation and delivery of 5G services, making orchestration decisions to be fed down into the hybrid SDN/NFV network management below. Optimal OSS will have a distributed cloud-native architecture with standardized open APIs, be AI-powered and be extremely dynamic to make real-time fulfilment decisions about the requirements in the more ephemeral 5G-specific use cases involving network slicing.

The value of analytics in telecom is obvious, but in the 5G era it is essential for unlocking the new type of personalized high-margin customer services and moving from operational excellence to commercial success. A combination of pre-defined scenarios for all disciplines across BSS, OSS and network MANO (constantly refined under DevOps and Agile methodology) and the application of AI to all processes and workflows ensures that broken processes and faulty logic are constantly being eradicated from the system by this overarching intelligence.

Modernizing Operational Processes
Neglecting any one of the above components will threaten a CSPs ability to maximize profit margins on new 5G services. Now that 5G technology has been proven in the network, the importance of the BSS/OSS becomes obvious, and pre-integrated, cloud-based solutions will start to significantly outpace piecemeal architectural assortments in achieving those goals.

As 5G subscriber numbers are set to boom over the coming months, leading CSPs are moving to align their whole operational software ecosystem to ensure they are as competitive and profitable as possible.

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