Could CSPs Lose the 5G Battle?

5G will be best monetized in environments that are completely automated.

Agile connection needed

The number of potential combinations, customer options and associated configurations will make back-end processes more complicated than those involved in putting a man on the moon. There will be complex products that change frequently and have a very short lifecycle. In order to deliver commercially relevant products, there must be an agile connection between the network and product or service discovery team. Product managers must be able to use network intelligence that provides a library of services that they can bring to market, quickly and efficiently.

However, all this change will cause chaos, and potential revenue will be lost unless business and operational support systems are transformed to accommodate the load that will inevitably be placed upon them. The TM Forum found evidence of this as early as July 2018. In a survey conducted with its members, it was discovered that 72 percent of respondents thought 5G revenue growth would be dependent on the transformation of operational and business support systems (BSS/OSS).

Digital business platforms, evolved

CSPs must employ a BSS/OSS platform that allows them to deliver product innovation and monetize 5G-enabled services on a scale that outstrips what they currently support. Above all, the ‘big picture’ goal is a digital business platform that allows service providers to effectively create, sell and deliver 5G-enabled products to their customers, to generate new revenues.

If CSPs are to survive 5G, let alone prosper from it, their B/OSS systems must be:

  • Zero-touch and 100 percent automated
  • Optimized for both B2C and B2B (and able to optimize offerings for different B2B segments)
  • Catalog-driven, making product creation agile and shareable across systems, and bringing new levels of product lifecycle management discipline to the organization
  • Able to straddle both legacy elements and new digital elements, using open standards and micro-services to combine the investment in legacy and with new digital business platforms
  • Cloud-based

The network enhancements of 5G will be a key driver in reducing operating costs, driven by the assumption that 5G will enable lower cost-per-bit for transmission, supported by the deployment of low-powered smart sensors for IoT that will drive automation in a closed-loop assurance fashion (reducing the labor costs associated with treating those issues manually). Reducing OPEX is highly dependent on the type of industry and how it utilizes the benefits of 5G.

Enhanced service innovation

As the network becomes more dynamic through the application of software-defined networks and virtualization, there is a real danger that operators will lose control over the network services created within their multi-domain infrastructure. Keeping track of this ever-changing library of network services will become a nearly impossible task, if attempted manually. Service discovery allows a catalog to synchronize with the various domain controllers and be able to learn or discover what network services have been ‘onboarded’ in the various network domains. Not only does this help to keep track of what has been implemented in the network, but once a centralized catalog of these discovered network services is available, it becomes possible to create new, higher-level products and services. These new products and services are created by combining the discovered capabilities in many different ways and leads to enhanced service innovation and rapid service introduction.

BSS and OSS systems are critical because 5G will be best monetized in environments that are completely automated. 5G services cannot be fully monetized if systems and processes continue to rely on manual processes. Indeed, Sigma believes that success in a 5G world is all about maximizing automation in BSS/OSS.

5G will open the door to a new world of opportunities, services, applications and innovations. The onus is on CSPs to act now in order to capitalize on these opportunities. They must have the right tools in their B/OSS to deal with the complexity heading their way with zero-touch, and enable them to provide instant gratification to customers—delivering what they want, when they want it. The 5G future looks bright, for both customers and CSPs, provided these vital steps are taken now. If not, the commercial promise of 5G risks being lost.


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