5G services: Deliver them seamlessly, flawlessly and accurately to gain and retain customer trust
Depending on what you read in the media, 5G rollouts are either on track or delayed due to the pandemic. What is not in dispute, says Padma Ravichander, CEO of Tecnotree, is that 5G will arrive sooner or later.
With the promise of enabling new and innovative business cases, 5G has the potential to transform communications service providers (CSPs) who are currently struggling in the face of massively increased demand coupled with the economic contraction driven by COVID-19.
5G is unique
5G has unique characteristics. It is not a replacement for the previous network generations, but an enhancement, with new layers of flexibility, plus unprecedented speed, latency and bandwidth. New business models will emerge through edge and cloud computing capabilities, and this software-defined networking will catalyse CSPs’ ability to deliver new features, functions, bundles and re-define how services are rendered on the network.
This flexibility is driven by 5G’s unique architecture which enables network slicing. This means exactly what it says – the network architecture is designed in such a way to allow CSPs to provide self-contained slices of the network to serve specific use cases. Different use cases have different requirements, so service level agreements can be ‘personalised’ to suit the application in terms of its levels of need for bandwidth, latency and speed.
The importance of network slicing
Network slicing enables the dynamic delivery of applications and services, making 5G an excellent environment to develop and test out new revenue streams quickly at very low cost, and either expand and enhance them or retire them, based on market reception. With new sophisticated back office systems delivered in the cloud as a service, 5G CSPs will be able to give customers control over their own requirements so network resources can be efficiently scaled up or down as required.
However, this whole new world of opportunity is creating an immensely competitive landscape, and CSPs need to rapidly understand exactly how they can leverage the characteristics of 5G to bring innovation to market. CSPs also need to ensure they choose the right partners for the advanced support services that 5G delivery requires. 5G is not simply about connectivity, it is a whole new proposition, and the winners will be the agile and the adventurous who are not afraid to seize the new opportunities and make them profitable while always adhering to the ‘customer first’ approach.
If customers are to spend more on 5G services, then those services need to be delivered seamlessly, managed flawlessly, and billed accurately, and the current legacy – monolithic, existing business systems are not entirely suited to the 5G future. They are not designed for dynamic service delivery but have been developed over time to deliver a narrow set of capabilities based on the limited voice and data feature sets that today’s ( 2G, 3G and 4G) networks can handle.
Nimble BSS and OSS
So just as 5G transforms the capability of the network, so must 5G BSS and OSS platforms be nimble enough to cope with the acceleration of this completely new service delivery model, including integrating and leveraging both machine learning and artificial intelligence. This will produce deep insights into customer behaviours, enabling the systems to make automatic data-driven policy decisions and deliver personalised services which will generate new revenue.
With IDC forecasting that the number of 5G connections will surpass one billion by 2023, this figure would represent nearly 9% of all mobile device connections, presenting huge opportunities across the mobile ecosystem for CSPs to create and leverage new business models.
Those models could be consumer facing – delivering better broadband for example, with individual entertainment packages integrating AR/VR capabilities for families – or embracing the huge range of enterprise opportunities including smart cities, connected vehicles, remote healthcare and automated manufacturing, to name but a few.
CSPs must invest to transform their current BSS/OSS platforms to become 5G monetisation ready, create an ecosystem of partners and prepare their new digital business and go-to-market models to capitalise on the demand and seize the opportunities, the new 5G era will unfold. The winners will be those who can establish a dynamic ecosystem, who can anticipate the demand and bring highly relevant services to market in a trusted, stable environment.
The author is Padma Ravichander, CEO, Tecnotree.