With the iPhone 12 hitting the hands of consumers last week, 5G is undoubtedly on the minds of many. While increased speeds are seen as the immediate benefit, there is much more to consider in the long term.
For example: a future filled with widespread and private 5G networks. At the NaaS and network slicing: Owning the opportunity session during TM Forum Digital Transformation World, Amdocs leaders explained why network-as-a-service and network slicing initiatives will be critical to enable and monetize future experiences enabled by 5G.
From faster speed to new services
Angela Logothetis, CTO of Amdocs Open Network, said that within five years, we'll see service providers change focus from faster speeds to new markets and services enabled by 5G. Some of these will be consumer-based (cloud gaming, streaming), but more use cases will appear in the enterprise space, such as industrial automation and emergency services. Network slicing will be essential to ensure each service is allocated the resources and capacity it needs.
In the session with Logothetis, Joe Hogan, founder and CTO of Openet (now an Amdocs company), said that monetization will be essential to this process. "The charging capability is critical to be able to monitor and charge for each one of the slices," said Hogan. "The policy system is going to be important to manage the slice and make sure it's delivering on what the service-level agreement for that slice is specified to do."
Logothetis said that as new use cases come to light, service providers’ ability to be agile and responsive and see the full lifecycle of these use cases deployed to market will be critical. This includes slice management, quickly onboarding partners, monitoring effectively and quickly changing monetization strategies as needed.
Making sense of a complex network slicing environment
So how can service providers effectively use network slicing to enable these new experiences? And do they have a role if enterprises decide to build dedicated private 5G networks independently from telcos? In a live panel, Alla Goldner, director of Technology, Strategy and Standardization at Amdocs, discussed this from a smart city use case perspective.
The discussion, which also included TM Forum, Samsung, DGIT Systems, and the City of Dublin, Ohio, discussed how the service provider role is up for grabs with network slicing. Since smart cities will be leveraging various best-in-breed technology, vendors for areas like smart meters in buildings, connected traffic lights, etc., will need to ensure collaboration between enterprises, business owners and city municipalities to operationalize various technologies. Combining these network slices into a single offering for a smart city is an opportunity to sell a complete end-to-end solution versus one technology.
Goldner explains that this requires multiple integrations because “all of this functionality is complex” when integrating OSS and BSS modules into a domain layer. “While any new technology is nice, it only comes to light when there is a strategy,” said Goldner. Focus on the new technology integration as well as assisting with monetization strategies will best position service providers for this new era.