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How will AI enable the switch to 5G? Read the report

How will AI enable the switch to 5G?

We asked global service providers about the benefits and challenges of AI in network connectivity.

What role will 5G and AI have in the mobile networks of the future?

The advent of 5G is introducing new challenges for mobile communications service providers, and integrating artificial intelligence (AI) techniques into networks is one way the industry is addressing these complexities. Ericsson asked senior executives and decision-makers from 132 service providers all over the world about their current and future plans for adopting AI into their networks. This report examines how far providers have already implemented AI, shares the experiences and challenges they have encountered, and looks at their plans for future deployment.

Ericsson Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence video

Key findings

  • AI is already being incorporated into networks, with a primary focus on reducing capital expenditure, optimizing network performance and building new revenue streams.
  • AI will be vital for improving customer service and enhancing customer experience.
  • AI will help recoup the investments communications service providers (CSPs) are making in their networks to switch to 5G.
  • Adopting AI is creating new data challenges, even as it solves network complexities.

AI is being adopted into mobile networks by Communication service provider now

Service providers from all over the world are already reaping the benefits of integrating AI into their networks. More than half of service providers (53 percent) expect to have fully integrated some aspect of AI into their networks by the end of 2020. Some are even hoping to have adopted AI by the end of this year, with a further 19 percent estimating a timescale of 3 to 5 years.

AI and customer experience

68 percent of service providers highlighted enhancing customer service as an overall business objective over the next 3 years, while 55 percent agreed that AI is already having a positive impact in this area. AI is expected to help providers further improve customer experience in many ways, including improving network quality and providing personalized services.

53 %
Worldwide, 53 percent expect to have AI integrated by 2020

Recouping the network investments that 5G demands

Lowering operational costs and ensuring returns on network investments are key priorities that service providers are looking to achieve using Artificial Intelligence. 70 percent believe the highest potential return from AI adoption will be in their network planning, whilst 64 percent intend to focus their AI efforts on network performance management.

​Core areas with the highest potential for returns on AI investments​

Data challenges presented by Artificial Intelligence adoption

Network providers agree that they need to develop effective mechanisms for collecting, structuring and analyzing the huge volumes of data that AI RAN is capable of amassing. A key takeaway from the report is that the early adopters of AI who find solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow will have a clear first-mover advantage.

It is our belief that AI 5G will open up exciting opportunities for the mobile communications sector, as it can be utilized to create a more personal approach for customers, while helping to manage the costs of deploying and maintaining 5G RAN.

Employing AI techniques to enhance returns on 5G network investments

Network intelligence

Ericsson integrates data insights with expert knowledge to offer service providers the back-up they need. This covers everything from site design and engineering to continuous preemptive support and network optimization. Network intelligence and automation are a crucial part of the evolution of 5G, IoT and industrial digitalization.

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