One of the most striking takeaways from Mobile World Congress 2018 is that despite the hype and excitement that has surrounded 5G, the industry isn’t quite ready for it. In fact, service providers have identified several significant issues that, if not addressed, could negatively affect the future of 5G.
Successfully rolling out 5G networks will require substantial capital for both infrastructure and spectrum, making it difficult for 5G to become the newer, faster version of LTE. In order to build and fulfill the business cases that will justify 5G investments, service providers need to stay the course on digital transformation, virtualization and the monetization of digital services. If service providers are able to execute these programs, the large-scale use cases for 5G—like remote medicine, precision agriculture, autonomous vehicles and dynamic network slicing—make more sense and become more realistic.
Conventional wisdom states that the big money in 5G is in B2B services. But to gain ground in B2B and set themselves up for a 5G win, service providers need to meet the needs of the B2B market. Enterprise customers are looking for a high degree of automation with as little interaction from an intermediary as possible. To meet this need, service providers need to make rapid improvements, exposing communications services via APIs and making it easier for enterprise customers to consume services autonomously in a zero-touch, self-serve mode.
Most service providers still have their networks organized by disparate domains that are typically technology, vendor or service specific. As networks begin to be virtualized, it’s common for the early steps to be taken on a domain-by-domain basis. But services cross multiple domains, and on-demand or dynamic benefits can’t be realized as long as domain disparity remains a hurdle.
To help break down these network silos and provide end-to-end cloud networks and services with a high degree of zero-touch automation, service providers need to implement domain orchestration (DO). DO can positively impact a service provider’s ability to deliver sophisticated cloud services, and it may also determine a service provider’s ability to capitalize on 5G when the time finally comes.
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