I recently had the pleasure of presenting on a webinar with Nokia and AWS on no-code and cloud-based monetization of the 5G economy. Listening to the speakers from AWS and Nokia, as well as discussions I’ve had in recent months with operators, it really hits home how different stand-alone (SA) 5G will be from all the other Gs.
Operators are starting to switch on SA 5G networks. In April, Vodafone Germany turned on SA 5G. They reported that customers can now receive minimal latency of between 10-15 milliseconds. As well as this they also announced they are proceeding with plans to deploy network slicing on the SA 5G network. This will enable dedicated slices for particular services to have predefined quality of service and latency. With the accelerated move to a digital economy and the ubiquity of streaming services the ability to control the delivery channel for many services (in this case the SA 5G network) opens many new opportunities and places the operator center stage in the 5G value chain.
All the 5G promises that the industry has been talking about for the last 3 years are starting to become reality.
While systems in the 5G core such as policy (PCF) and those adjacent to it, such as charging (CHF) have 3GPP standards, many of the supporting systems that operators need to run their business don’t have such well-defined standards. As such, there is a danger of vendors sticking a ‘5G compliant’ label on systems that we designed when voice was the main revenue earner for operators and texting was seen as the next big thing. BSS is one such example.
There are the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture guidelines (cloud-native, built using microservices, uses containerization and open APIs). The guidelines should be the building blocks of all BSS. However, for BSS that supports 5G, we need to look at how 5G will impact the day-to-day running of an operator’s business. 5G will deliver new business models. It will deliver new and more fluid channels and it will enable many new offers. As such operators will need to be much more agile than before in defining, testing, and implementing new offers and new processes. The ‘fail fast / learn fast’ model needs to become reality, as 5G offers opportunity but also uncertainty. It could be argued that 5G needs new offers and processes to be developed and in production in 24 hours as opposed to 24 weeks – but there are no standards to define this, only best-in-class business processes.
Therefore, for 5G BSS we propose that the no-code approach is the only way to go. No-code BSS enables a level of hyper-agility that operators will need as SA 5G gets rolled out. No-code enables business users in an operator to make changes to BSS via visual tools. As such they don’t need a PhD in computing science to build a new offer, or, say, develop a new up-sell process, as there is no coding involved. This democratizes BSS and enables changes faster and with greater frequency than ever before. Operators won’t need to go through the lengthy and expensive change request process. They can make changes themselves – quickly and cost-effectively. SA 5G is the next evolution in telecoms, as such, it needs to be supported by the next evolution of BSS.
Tony Regan VP Europe
View On-Demand Webinar on No-Code and Cloud-Based Monetization of the 5G Economy (Produced by Qvantel, Nokia, and Amazon Web Services):