Nexign Regional Director Andrew Tan says as 5G rolls out, regional telecom operators must decide how they fit into the landscape. Tan unpacks why it’s never been a better time to make the transition from a traditional communications service provider to digital service provider.
By Andrew Tan
5G networks, hailed as the next major milestone for mobile and wireless communications, have thrown the world into a frenzy trying to maintain the edge in connectivity and exploit the vast opportunities it is expected to offer.
The technology boasts a 20-fold increase over existing network’s peak theoretical speeds and when fully operational, could open the doors to a myriad of emerging technologies such as cloud gaming, smart appliances and autonomous vehicles.
It would also fuel the accelerated adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, leading to an escalation in advanced machine-to-machine (M2M) field operations such as edge computing.
For Singapore in particular, which plans to commence its 5G rollout by 2020 and aims to be “a global 5G front-runner for innovation in secure and resilient 5G applications and services”, getting a head start in this arena will be crucial, with the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) already proposing to base 5G networks in Singapore on “standalone” network specifications and architecture.
This means that networks are much more costly to build as telecommunications service providers are required to invest a significant level of capital into building up the required infrastructure, rather than simply overlaying the 5G network atop the existing 4G infrastructure as doing so may limit speeds and would not support the full suite of 5G capabilities.
As the 5G saga takes shape, regional telecom operators must decide how they fit. It stands to be argued that there has never been a better time to make the transition from a traditonal communications service provider (CSP) to digital service provider (DSP).
The advent of transformational technologies will always signal an opportunity for businesses in their orbit. But monetisation of such innovations can prove problematic without the right business support system (BSS) in place.
It is also essential to bear in mind that in the age of digital natives, connecting your infrastructure to them, in a hassle-free way, is part and parcel of the optimum user experience (UX).
According to a TM Forum report, as much as two thirds (67%) of total revenue from 5G use cases – beyond mere enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and fixed wireless access (FWA) – is dependent on OSS/BSS transformation. Adapting your BSS to support 5G services will have an impact on real-time domains such as rating, charging and policy control. Complex usage scenarios will demand the integration of many other systems, and operators will need to ensure that a single BSS can cover these.
Four reasons why
Internet of Things
IoT allows organisations as diverse as airlines, agricultural specialists and warehouses to enhance their ability to make smart decisions in real time. The low latency of 5G is very appealing when trying to deliver these kinds of systems, but it is vital not only to have an IoT-fluent BSS that understands what is being delivered and how; it is also critical that the solution provides flexible network monetisation, to manage charges and policies for different types of devices in the field.
Collaboration with service partners
When competing in the Age of Content, digitally savvy, demanding consumers are the new subscriber base. To offer the kind of one-stop shop they demand, the DSP must recruit allies―application service providers (ASPs) and over-the-top (OTT) service providers—so they can provide a rich 5G experience.
Via integration with the service-capability exposure function (SCEF), your BSS solution should enable content providers to create new package offers for subscribers, at will, and have more control over how they are delivered, allow the delivery of free traffic for special marketing campaigns and improve the quality of ASP traffic detection.
At the same time, the BSS platform must have a robust partner relationship management (PRM) solution, to ensure that application services providers, content providers and other partners can be on-boarded seamlessly and efficiently.
Legacy Wi-Fi replacement
When market share is redistributed among fixed and mobile services, DSPs need to decide how this will be managed. When mobile access through 5G can deliver very stable connections at lightning speeds, subscribers are unlikely to use legacy services such as Wi-Fi or home broadband. Your BSS needs to be able to deliver options on how to set up new usage-charge models as you phase out the old and usher in the new.
eSIM subscription management
While eSIM (embedded SIM)-ready networks and handsets are not yet widespread, change is coming and 5G may accelerate its arrival. Working with eSIM and managing subscribers and devices will not only take a flexible BSS, but unprecedented interoperability and co-operation between industry players across the global telecoms market.
The 5G revolution, like all revolutions, is endowed with the weight of inevitability. Now that the race has begun, it will be to the profit only of those who recognise the integration gaps in their own house and tune up their BSS in readiness for the boundless opportunities on the horizon.