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CSPs focus on service operations transformation to kickstart the standalone 5G era

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If CSPs are to enter a new era of financial prosperity with a renewed vigour for innovation, their service operations IT ecosystem must be radically different to the OSS/BSS of yesteryear.

Principal Analyst, TM Forum

CSPs focus on service operations transformation

Principal Analyst, TM Forum

Principal Analyst, TM Forum

At TM Forum we spend a lot of time thinking not only about the future structure of CSP operations, but also the evolutional path that telecoms companies must navigate towards that future state. And while all CSPs are different, there are several fundamental truths about that journey we see playing out across all the member organisations that we work with.

The truth I’d like to discuss here is this: if CSPs are to enter a new era of financial prosperity with a renewed vigour for innovation, their service operations IT ecosystem must be radically different to the OSS/BSS of yesteryear. This statement in of itself is not too interesting, as IT evolution has been at the heart of TM Forum activity for decades now and the blueprint and roadmap is well understood. What is interesting however, is that we are now starting to see market impact of IT transformation projects in CSPs ability to behave differently and serve their customers in more engaging ways.

Components of the future CSP

Taking a step back for a moment and thinking about the next era of telecoms business, it has become clear that a business diversification strategy can only be achieved by deploying a new wave of connectivity solutions. Simply put, classical telecoms services have hit the upper limit of their scale, so any net new business will have to be generated in a different way of working with a different operations platform. The components of that platform are:

  • Fully automated service operations processes over a composable plug-and-play open IT architecture
  • Autonomous, programmable network operations
  • 5G RAN and edge technologies in wireless use cases
  • AI-native, cloud-native approach

From an evolution point of view the network pieces of this next generation platform are well understood and have been in mass deployment mode. Moving up the technology stack, we now see CSPs doubling down on efforts to address the IT layers – modernizing, simplifying and automating. The reasoning for this is easy to understand if we look at an example of a service which CSP cannot deliver today but see large potential for in the near future, mobile cloud gaming.

Realizing long held ambitions

Providing console-like gaming experiences on a smartphone or tablet is possible without those devices having an upgraded graphics chip. The GPU function can be done in the edge cloud and sent to the device with an extremely low-latency connection on a 5G network slice. The game itself will likely be running the games developers’ own cloud infrastructure utilizing elastic capacity and compute as required depending on the number of users. The complex piece of the equation for the CSP is spinning up a network slice when the gamer opens the app and starts the game and closing it off when the session is over.

All of the intelligence related to that activity is stored in the core commerce and production IT systems of the CSP. From the SLA which tells the network what slice characteristics the customer and application need, to the revenue management which knows how to rate charge and bill appropriately for the service to which partners in the value chain take what share of the revenue. At the heart of the IT ecosystem that contains all of this data is the service orchestration and service assurance functions which both control the fulfilment of services and monitor the network’s ability to deliver those services to pre-agreed QoS levels.

In our cloud gaming example, the 5G network slice required is ephemeral and complex, but there are a myriad of more mundane use cases, which will allow CSPs to properly monetize their network investments. In bringing together service operations intelligence and network operations capability, CSPs can use this platform to drive a new type of value proposition for their customers.

New research

In our new research report Closing the loop: CSPs aim to automate service orchestration and assurance, we conducted a wide ranging industry survey of CSP decision makers about their hopes for making advancements in the IT domain and what business impact they expect as the standalone 5G era begins.

Read more

Service orchestration for better service quality

Closing the loop: CSPs aim to automate service orchestration and assurance

TM Forum case study: Telia transforms operations for end-to-end network slicing and assurance

Fuel innovation with service orchestration and assurance | LinkedIn.

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