5G has become one of the biggest catalysts for change in the history of the telecommunications industry and not just “the network of networks” as it has been described by some. We now need a ‘platform approach’ in order to evolve the current mind-set that views networks simply as providers of connectivity and start seeing them more as platforms, able to support customer-centric services and applications in the real world.
The technology is evolutionary. 5G is not just another air interface, but the first opportunity to combine a whole raft of new technologies in one holistic ecosystem including NFV/SDN, Cloud Hosting, Mobile Edge Computing, Network Slicing, Intelligent Automation, End-2-End Orchestration Closed Loop Analytics, Intent-based Management and Machine Learning.
5G technology is also revolutionary, as it has the potential to transform the network architecture into something highly agile, highly scaleable and highly automated.
Consequently, OSS and BSS applications will also have to change in order to support the End-2-End, dynamic, on-demand and automated nature of the new 5G ecosystem. Technology has to be treated as a series of services: network planning and optimisation; product creation and provisioning and service fulfilment; management systems operating across multiple physical and logical domains; and Service Assurance supporting both the operator and the end user.
This approach will support the conversion of services into revenue, as connectivity will be matched to demand through more effective monitoring and SLA governance.
This platform approach will also support operators. as they attempt to escape their present image of being the “connectivity pipe”. This will help them transform into the providers of ecosystems that enable new and different verticals, such as Smart Cities and Connected Cars, all the way to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Adding further innovations, such as eSIM/Virtual SIM technology and neutral hosting models will further disrupt the established telecommunications supply chain and revenue models, leading to new commercial models and partnerships that will include non-telecommunications players.
CGI is presently involved in several 5G initiatives around the globe, including:-