Telco ecosystem puts flesh on the bones of 5G monetisation
A large number of mobile operators and their partners are still wondering how they can make real money from the 5G networks they are building and beginning to roll-out, Antony Savvas points to some recent ecosystem developments that help chart the way forward.
While some industry watchers see 5G as a fast mobile network solution still looking for leading edge and profitable applications, BT, for instance, is looking to change that.
It has just selected Oracle to optimise its network resources and bring new and cash-savvy 5G offerings to market faster.
It is deploying Oracle’s Communications Cloud Native Converged Policy Management technology and says the solution will enable it to “quickly and seamlessly” test and implement 5G services across its EE mobile network in the UK.
The adoption promises to make it easier for network engineers to design, test and deploy new services across both 4G and 5G networks. BT said Oracle’s policy design engine will enable it to quickly implement 5G services such as live streaming and augmented reality (AR), reducing testing and implementation times to a “matter of minutes, instead of months”.
IoT service offerings
The system will also give the telco the flexibility to optimise network and subscriber resources to launch 5G-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) service offerings to consumer and enterprise customers.
In addition, leveraging Oracle’s built-in analytics function and support for edge-routing, BT will be able to make intelligent policy decisions using subscriber, class of service, quality of service and network resource data in real-time, to “deliver the best, most reliable experience for customers”, the partners said.
Howard Watson, chief technology officer at BT, says, “As we move to this next evolution in networking, Oracle is helping us reduce complexity with solutions that ease the migration to 5G and provide the flexibility needed, both to introduce innovative new services and ensure we’re offering our customers the right levels of service according to their needs.”
Andrew Morawski, senior vice president and general manager for networks at Oracle Communications, adds, “We are helping forward-thinking operators such as BT future-proof their 5G vision. With a unified, future-ready policy management platform, BT can optimise network resources appropriately and bring new, innovative services and experiences to customers quicker.”
BT isn’t the only one moving things forward in 5G monetisation either, with global data centre player Equinix getting into bed with Nokia to improve matters for the industry.
Equinix has built a fully functional 5G and edge technology development centre, which includes a non-standalone 5G network from Nokia to support its drive for new wireless-related business through its telco customers.
Used to test and validate various 5G services and use cases, Equinix says the development centre will help service providers and network operators bring “innovative concepts” to market, through providing an agile production framework for assessing, incubating and testing 5G and edge solutions for end-to-end and secure applications.
The new 5G and Edge Technology Development Center, which is located at the Equinix DA11 International Business Exchange data centre in Dallas, Texas, is bringing together various telco ecosystem participants through a production-ready interconnection sandbox environment, from the radio network to the cloud.
The development centre will initially focus on mobile hybrid multi-cloud connectivity, network slicing, distributed artificial intelligence and machine learning, enablement and orchestration of infrastructure, augmented and virtual reality, and gaming.
To test their solutions, telcos can establish data centre-to-data centre network connections on-demand between any two Equinix Fabric site locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnections.
“As we look to a future where 5G is ubiquitous, the way that IP traffic moves between networks around the world will change completely, and interconnected data centres will play a crucial role in this new 5G-dominated future,” says Sean Hemphill, vice president of webscale business at Nokia. “We are allowing customers to test real-world 5G and edge deployments.”
Justin Dustzadeh, CTO at Equinix, adds, “As companies develop new 5G technologies and services they need a real-world environment to test and bring their concepts to life. Our centre enables them to bring new capabilities to market, accelerate adoption and deliver new revenue streams faster.”
These developments are clearly what the industry needs, and also demonstrate that there are plenty of partners outside the traditional telco space waiting in the wings to join a growing 5G ecosystem.
TM Forum‘s 2021 Digital Transformation World Series (DTWS) is currently taking place and includes a packed online programme that will run until 14 October. To be more informed about the issues facing telecoms, a registration for the show is recommended, with free access to communications service providers (CSPs).
TM Forum’s 850 member companies are said to generate a combined US$2 trillion (€1.71 trillion) in annual revenue, serving 5 billion customers across 180 countries, and you would be right to think there will be helpful views floated at the series of events covering effective 5G monetisation.
Autonomous networks, open digital architecture, the wider move to the cloud and many more issues are slated in the running order of topics to be covered. And after dipping in briefly to the Series myself, I can testify that most attendees will learn something helpful, particularly those wanting to jump onto the “telco to techco” bandwagon.
A techco is a telecoms provider that wants to build a meaningful ecosystem of partners that will help it break through the network silos it has been operating behind for the last 20-25 years, to reach and financially benefit from the new services being delivered through the likes of 5G and IoT.
Any telco that doesn’t want to be a techco will probably not be around for much longer.
The event is expected to attract over 10,500 attendees. You can register for the ongoing event here.
The author is Antony Savvas, a global freelance business technology journalist.