To fully realize the monetization opportunities of 5G, service providers need to bring the open 5G cloud network to life. To do this effectively, it requires a network that can be tailored or “sliced” to meet the needs of specific use cases, services, applications and customers. With network slicing, service providers can split the physical network into multiple, virtual networks – much like having a pedestrian walkway, a cycle lane, a HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane, a heavy goods lane, a slow lane, a regular lane and an overtaking lane all on the one highway.
Yet, with the endless possibilities the technology brings, it also introduces a new need for software to manage the lifecycle of a slice end to end – defining a slice, creating a slice, assuring a slice, billing for a slice end to end across multiple network vendors and multiple network domains. There will be many different types of slices – network-centric slices for increased operational control, consumer-centric slices for gaming and video streaming and AR/VR, and custom slices for specific enterprise applications like logistics or smart factories.
To understand where service providers are today on the journey to implementing network slicing and learn about their vision and plans for 5G monetization, analyst firm Coleman Parkes conducted a survey sponsored by Amdocs, of senior decision makers at some of the world’s largest operators. The research covered a wide range of topics relating to network slicing strategy, from attitudes to monetization and implementation plans, to priority use cases and required capabilities.
The findings made it clear that operators clearly acknowledge the importance of network slicing and are incorporating it into their network strategy. Specifically, they understand that in order to realize the technology’s monetization benefits, they need to get the implementation ball rolling fast. For example:
- 64 percent of respondents believe service providers must roll out 5G network slicing in the next two years if they are to open up new revenue streams and successfully compete
- 72 percent believe network slicing is the next real game changer for customer experience, enabling tailored, fit-for-purpose and diverse use cases that empower the digital world
- 52 percent see “charging for a dedicated network slice” as the leading approach to slice monetization
Given these results, it’s hardly surprising that the vast majority of respondents – 84 percent –said they’re already trialing or plan to trial 5G network slicing in 2020.
Delving deeper, the survey revealed that service providers recognize the necessity to move beyond the previous generation of one-size-fits all mobile networks in favor of the ability to tailor and slice the network to address specific use-case and customer requirements as priority use cases. As part of this trend, the research found:
- Three quarters believe that at least initially, service-based use cases such as IoT, connected cars and smart homes will see the greatest impact
- Almost 20 percent believe vertical industry-based use cases, such as health, agriculture, mining and manufacturing will see a significant impact
Finally, the survey asked decision makers what they felt were the key capabilities to managing the lifecycle of a slice. Here, almost 9 in 10 cited end-to-end monetization/integration with ordering and charging, while two-thirds said adaptive, real-time operational systems integrated with BSS.
Overall, the message of the Coleman Parkes-Amdocs study is that service providers already have a clear understanding that to realize the full business potential of 5G, it will require them to gain the capabilities that allow them to manage and monetize 5G network slices – from design, creation and launch to ongoing closed-loop operations.
For more detail on the survey results, download the infographic. If you are looking for a solution to address the challenges of network slicing, learn how Amdocs 5G Slice Manager automates the network slice lifecycle, enabling you to unlock the full monetization potential of 5G network slicing.