Intelligent Network Capacity Planning for 5G

As 5G gains traction, CSPs will look to unearth its potential benefits. However, what 5G will also bring in is a compound effect of the challenges that CSPs face already.

The Three Challenges CSPs face

The first of these challenges pertains to the increasing capex intensity which is plaguing the telecom industry, which currently stands at 16%, the highest among any other sector in the world. The second challenge comes from the growing network complexity which is quickly as CSPs continue to pursue network-wide densification and virtualization. The final challenge comes from the fact that customer expectations, as it historically has, is rising in multiples, and with the number of connected devices and subscribers being added to the mix increasing, and leading to the an increase in data volumes, the expectations of customers is rising manifold.

The above challenges are ones CSPs need to deal with in a 4G environment, and the 5G landscape is only set to accelerate these trends further.

How will 5G change things

One of the better-known advantages that come with 5G is the fact that it opens up CSPs to operator in a new arena beyond the usual consumer space: Enterprises. With 5G CSPs will play an integral instrument for driving newer use cases around IoT, industrial automation, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, robotic surgery and a lot more. What this means is that, for CSPs, 5G use cases will now bring in 3 larger use cases:

  1. eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband) – which is designed for better user experiences on consumer devices, providing extreme network speeds and capacity
  2. mMTC (Massive Machine-type Communication) – which aims to provide connectivity to a huge number of devices whose traffic profile is typically a small amount of data (spread) sporadically.
  3. URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Services) – which focusses on low latency, high reliability and high availability aspects

With a focus around these three overarching use cases, 5G promises to deliver superior experience to not just subscribers but enterprises also. From a consumer angle, for close to 60% of smartphone users, the highest expectation for 5G is to deliver speeds faster than current mobile networks. Across the globe, data consumption is increasing by more than 40 percent every year. Video in particular will account for 75 percent of network traffic by 2024, up from 55 percent today. Networks will need to adapt from Standard and High Definition video resolution to 2K and 4K, placing higher requirements on speed and quality. Further into the future, services like AR/VR applications will put even higher requirements on network performance. This demand for better customer experience means that operators must continuously adapt and expand network capacity.

From an Enterprise standpoint, with 5G having the capability to reduce latency to sub-milliseconds, businesses can start to consider the nexus between cloud, mobile and enterprise applications. More features and functionality can be extended to the mobile fleet and frontline employees. The use cases for ultralow latency apps can be vertical specific. This can include the financial services for high-frequency trading, as well as mining and energy companies rolling out autonomous fleets that are highly responsive to their environments. Moreover, 5G complements other emerging technologies such as AI/ML, robotics and IoT to further drive enterprise digital transformation both internally within an organization as well as externally in customer engagements.  Of course, at the end of the day, 5G is a telecom technology, and hence CSPs will be at the heart of driving 5G within the enterprise. However, this will also mean a new area where CSPs will need to direct capacity.

What all the above add to is the need to build Superior experiences, which will be the main driver to generate new revenue stream in 5G era.

The Need for Intelligent Capacity Management

The main enabler to provide a superior experience will be an   approach based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. With capacity as the main enabler for raising speed to the 10x Gbps mark an Intelligent Capacity Management approach will in-turn help to meet the future growth requirements of massive device volumes.

In line with this, an accurate capacity management process will help CSPs to differentiate themselves from the competition. Why Accuracy? Accuracy is key in any capacity management process as it directly impacts the Capex and ROI. An Intelligent Capacity Management solution built on Intelligent Data Management, Advanced Automation, and Domain-Driven Data Science, can help network planners achieve accuracy in each phase of capacity management process of Assessing, Planning and Optimizing capacity augmentations.

Intelligent Capacity Management for Better Network Planning

To succeed in the 5G journey, CSPs will need to make the right investments to gain competitive advantage and enhance end-user experience. However, such investments are highly cost intensive, both in terms of Capex and Opex. Any inaccuracies in the overall network investment planning can lead to unintended impacts on company financials and can create significant network inefficiencies. Hence, an Intelligent Capacity Management can help ensure accuracy to make the right Network Investment Plans.

Intelligent Capacity Management for Better Customer Experience

5G will also enable CSPs to increase revenues due to its potential of not only transforming mobile communications, but also completely replacing broadband internet. Considering most 5G deployments are focusing on FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) as the first use case, this is clearly the intent among most telecom operators. However, this will demand a dramatically broader capacity than CSPs are generally used to providing. This can only be achieved through an Intelligent approach to Capacity Management.

Business Benefits of Intelligent Capacity Management

An Intelligent Capacity Management Approach can bring about a:

  • 70%+ Increase in Accuracy
  • 80%+ Increase in Operational Efficiency
  • 7%+ Increase in Capex Efficiency
  • 10%+ Increase in ROI

Read a case study on how we helped a Tier-I telcos increase their revenues by over 12% through intelligent network investment planning.

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