Analyst Insight: The promise of slicing in the 5G era
5G will change the business model for how services are delivered. Among the benefits of deploying 5G one feature is the ability to carve the network into finer grain slices. This is possible because 5G is more dynamic and flexible in optimizing resources in the network.
The economic benefits of 5G are still years from being fully realized. Therefore, it is necessary now to evaluate business models that support the monetization of 5G and more specifically network slicing. A 5G ready network architecture must support multiple domains including the access, core, and transport domains. The management of the 5G network must consider the end to end monitoring, provisioning, orchestration of services, and interaction with billing systems. Refer to our research on the outlook for telecommunication sector.
5G is better aligned to service-oriented architectures than previous generations. The programmability of the 5G network lends itself to network slicing and the coexistence of different service and application requirements over the same physical infrastructure.
Tuning the slice to the service is the key to reaping the benefits of 5G network slicing. CSPs should think about how the slice lifecycle can be designed and managed.
One option is to treat the slice as a ‘dumb pipe’ running across the RAN transport and core with minimal operational overhead. The other option is to treat the slice as a dynamic service-aware tunnel tuned to the applications running through the slice. In the second instance the slice has more business value and as such can be monetized. This method requires linkage to the BSS systems to better tune each slice to the business needs of the service.
This approach also allows the CSPs to deliver, measure, and charge for premium services to enhance the customer experience. It opens new market opportunities and potential revenue streams in the automotive, health, and consumer sectors of the economy.
For CSPs evaluating their choices on the management of the 5G network slice we recommend:
- Evaluate use cases and potential customers to target 5G network slicing commercial offers. Do you want to develop a proposition for private enterprise networks, tune the slice to the specific service, or simply offer a dumb slice?
- Prepare your OSS systems to interface and configure domain controllers in the RAN, core, and transport networks.
- Have an accurate view of the logical and physical resources in the network. Live inventory and topology graphs help to determine how much and if resources are available to offer the slice.
- Prepare, design, and program the data and APIs to effectively monetize the service. This will require interface with product catalogs, policy templates, and real time billing systems.
- Manage the full end-to-end service lifecycle not just part of it.
For more info on Amdocs solutions visit www.amdocs.com/5G-slice.
About the author: Patrick Kelly is Founder & Principal Analyst, Appledore