How to monetise the 5G experience

As 5G rollouts begin in earnest, significant questions remain as to how the business model will stack-up for next generation networks. It’s actually a little shocking that despite investing billions in spectrum and billions more in network buildout, this is still even a question.

We know 5G will bring increased speed and decreased latency. But so what? Will this alone be enough to recoup the investment?

According to the TM Forum a staggering 72 percent of 5G revenue growth will be dependent on the transformation of CSPs’ operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS). 5G Monetisation

The new promised 5G services cannot be effectively delivered using legacy processes.CSPs need to not only reimagine the services they deliver, they need to rearchitect how they assure these services if they are to have a chance of monetizing 5G.

To put it bluntly, if you want to charge a premium for a specific QoS or QoE, you’d better be able to guarantee it. And this means getting your telecom service assurance match fit for the 5G era.

On June 11th, I’ll be joining CSPs from around the world together with major vendors such as AWS and Red Hat to participate in the inaugural Telecom Assurance Cloud Summit, where we’ll dig into what this all means for how we as an industry deliver on our collective 5G promise.

Much has been made of how network slicing will help solve this challenge, allowing CSPs to deliver a range of innovative new services and offerings that can help make 5G a financial, as well as technical success.

Network slicing enables CSPs to offer – and charge for – differentiated QoS according to the specific requirements of the application or service. It’s a central component of many of the innovative 5G use cases that have been developed to date, ranging from autonomous vehicles (V2X communications) which require ultra-low latency, to streaming media services such as VR or 4K video which require ultra-fast throughput.

These are potentially significant new revenue streams for the CSP that can move quickest and that is agile enough to monetize these new business models.

In this race to monetize 5G, those that win will adopt an approach to telecom service assurance which enables them to dynamically provision and assure 5G network slices in minutes rather than weeks.

What does this mean in practice?  By employing the latest cloud technologies CSPs can significantly reduce the cost, effort and time to deploy carrier-grade service assurance systems. Due to the practical realities of acquiring and preparing infrastructure and platform resources, traditional on-premise systems can take CSPs up to six months to deploy. In contrast, cloud-native systems reduce this by 75 percent through automation and infrastructure independence. A software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to telecom service assurance completely removes the need for CSPs to manage infrastructure and platforms, and can be deployed, ready to ingest data, in under one hour.

Put simply, CSPs must evolve their core systems and operations to be able to deliver and guarantee the quality of revenue driving services very quickly. To do this they must embrace the same webscale models which have led to extreme agility and efficiency in that sector – Cloud technology and operations and Software-as-a-Service delivery.

Telecom assurance in the 5G era must use these technologies to help operators deliver high-quality, differentiated 5G services profitably. Only by transforming digital operations can CSPs automate and monetize 5G experiences, services and network management.

While much of the focus in 5G remains on the air interface and the so called “feeds and speeds” there has to date been less emphasis on the underlying OSS/BSS systems that will be required to actually deliver on much of the promise of innovative and dynamic service offerings for these new networks.

But as the numbers from TM Forum starkly reveal, you can have the fastest network around but if you’re relying on a legacy approach to service assurance, you’re risking missing out on almost 75 percent revenue growth.

At next month’s Telecom Assurance Cloud Summit, I’m eager to hear tier one CSPs own first hand experiences of how they effectively transformed their digital operations, adopting the technologies and practices that have made the webscale companies so successful.

Without taking adopting a cloud-native approach, the path to 5G revenues is set to be a long and winding one.  Can you afford to miss the Summit?