It is great to be the first, the largest, or the fastest, but in the long term, does that make you the “best”? 5G is rolling out quickly and we are seeing a steady stream of articles and advertisements reminding us of who is “winning” the 5G race. But what really determines the true winner in this 5G race? Well first, lets agree this is a marathon and not a sprint (I know this is cliché, but the analogy works). We’ve seen this race playout before with 3G and again with 4G. The real winners will be those service providers who understand that success is not only measured in the initial “speed test” of who got the first “5G claims”, but to the service provider who has the most successful business outcomes. These outcomes are measurable and affect top-line and bottom-line success.
Today we see most service providers leading with their radio access vendors which one can argue makes sense since they are consuming the majority of the 5G investment. However, once the initial 5G network is standing (albeit with gaps in coverage and services) and 5G claims made public (first, biggest, fastest, etc.), the network planners will step back and consider their phase-2 plans which will determine if and how they achieve their intended business outcomes. As I mentioned, we saw this playout in 3G and 4G, and phase-2 buildout of the 5G network is when the network planners decide how to scale the network, contain costs, and deliver the new services required to grow new revenues and achieve their goals.
What are these outcomes? They include the following:
• Increased profitability
o Derived from controlling expenses while growing revenues
• Growing new and existing business/revenues
o Network must support current and new demands by consumer and business customers
o Emphasis today is on Cloud and Edge services. Must support eMBB, Low Latency, High Reliability, IoT, and be secured and trusted
o Automation that assures SLA for all services including Network Slicing, and Private networks that leverage the SP network or cloud providers
• Reduce costs
o Automation to reduce the number of resources required to operate network business and reduce network-affecting-issues
o Open systems to eliminate vendor lock-in has a proven track record to reduce costs and make best-of-breed available
o New ways to acquire HW/SW – Subscriptions, Licenses, IaaS
• Build a network that can quickly and efficiently support new opportunities
o Highly automated, software-defined network can be inherently more agile than traditional purpose built and proprietary networks
o Network that thrives in a hybrid environment (i.e. Hybrid Cloud, on-prem, indoor/outdoor, Private/Public)
o Seamless, secured roaming across access technologies (5G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc.)
o Fast, zero-touch instantiation of new functions and services
• Ways to monetize your 5G investment
These solutions must work equally well whether for a new mobile network or transforming an existing mobile network. To achieve all this, the service provider needs a partner with a proven record at building the solutions that enable new revenue streams, better management, and mitigate risks. Phase-2 is more often where service providers rediscover the true value of Cisco in their network and Cisco as their partner.
Cisco is focused on your business success. When you succeed, we all succeed. Cisco offers a complete 5G Telco Cloud Platform, which is a fully software-defined network architecture using machine learning and artificial intelligence to maximize value while delivering the best customer experiences for consumer and business. Unlike some, our 5G architecture is fully open and designed to thrive as a multi-vendor network. Commercial examples of what is possible with Cisco and our Telco Cloud Platform can be seen in every region of the globe.
Only Cisco offers comprehensive 5G network solutions for service provider, enterprise, web providers, public sector, and consumers. This breath of innovation and expertise make for the perfect partner to map and execute a successful 5G business plan.
Cisco is helping to lead the industry in opening the last proprietary network segment in mobility – the radio access network (RAN). Cisco and the Open vRAN eco-system are active members of the ORAN Alliance and other open radio forums. It is this eco-system that has quietly opened this last bastion of closed products. As a result, the service provider community (and enterprise, public sector, and others) are enjoying freedom to select best of breed and gain leverage in negotiations. Just ask Rakuten who reduced their RAN spend by over 30%.
Let’s look at a few examples of how Cisco works with their service provider partners to drive successful business outcomes:
Spark New Zealand:
New Zealanders love their sport. And Rugby and competitive sailing are very popular. So, with the Rugby World Cup and America’s Cup competitions scheduled, Spark NZ wants their users to have the best experiences delivered for a reasonable cost. For this reason they implemented Cisco Ultra Traffic Optimization (CUTO) which increases available bandwidth for their customers without adding expensive new radio equipment. Spark then upgraded their existing virtualized packet core to support both 5G and 4G – a converged core. Outcome achieved - Very satisfied customers, new revenues, and reduced costs.
Finding themselves in a highly competitive market, Orange Poland needed to implement 5G quickly and successfully. Orange found that they could add 5G quickly and cost effectively by upgrading the software of their existing Cisco Virtual Packet Core. Now Orange has a converged core supporting 4G and 5G services with a relatively minor investment. Unlike some that talk about investment protection – Cisco delivers it.
Outcome achieved – New 5G services rolled out fast and expensive and disruptive changes avoided.
As one might imagine, the US cellular market is highly competitive and with demanding customers. T-Mobile was able to quickly introduce stand-alone 5G services in a very short time with the Cisco 5G Cloud Core. This is a cloud native core with vector packet processing to drive over 400 GBPS throughput per server over a geographically distributed network.
This is the world’s largest nationwide 5G SA network serving almost 100 million subscribers.
Outcome achieved – Happy customers, nationwide 5G SA service and a packet core that is capable of unleashing new services in the cloud, on premise, or elsewhere.
Service providers and enterprises are making huge investments transforming their networks and businesses for the 5G era. Ultimately, network access convergence will be implemented along with seamless roaming, and that will go even further to reduce costs and enhance services and new opportunities. With the Cisco 5G architecture, your network is defined by the applications and services, not by the access technology. Open APIs, flexible software-defined platform, and advance automation simplify what once was complex. Cisco Customer Experience (CX) not only helps you plan and implement, but they work with you and your customers to ensure that you derive the greatest value from your investment.
And that is the desired outcome – maximizing return and profitability from your 5G investment. Building a software-defined network - secured and automated – along with revenue generating service solutions and enlisting Cisco CX to implement and maximize value may seem like a large investment, but really it is very small when compared to the overall 5G build. While the vast majority of the mobile operator 5G investment is in spectrum and radio, that massive spend alone will not generate necessary revenue. However, your relatively small investment in a Cisco network provides the platform that will give you the return on your overall 5G investment – including radio. So, the smaller investment pays for the larger expense.
This content is sponsored by Cisco.
— Gaurav Vaid, Senior Director, Product Management, Mobile Core, Cisco