A Network Provisioning Plan: Slicing for 5G across all domains
With the 5G network slicing, communications service providers (CSPs) and their business customers have made breakthroughs in mobile network connectivity, quality of service (QoS), and revenue generation, with operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS) has a clear effect on both.
5G network slicing opens up new use cases for solving modern-day challenges, such as safer driving by autonomous vehicles, better remote healthcare treatment, push-to-talk emergency services, and live remote broadcasting/streaming using the Internet of Things. The high-performance and flexible communications capabilities of 5G network slicing are driving demand among many other promising use cases.
With network slicing, virtualization is used to combine and partition physical and/or virtual mobile network resources, resulting in logical networks that can be dedicated to specific commercial, industrial, and public service applications. We will wonder how we ever lived without these advancements once they are part of everyday life and business.
However, this change will not occur overnight. Within the next decade or so, it will be introduced in three waves. It will be imperative for service providers to reassess their digital OSS/BSS and networking infrastructures as the momentum for this paradigm shift builds, and to strategically invest in upgrades necessary to build a solid 5G network slicing foundation to support the new services.
Navigating wave after wave of change
The key step is to adopt digital OSS/BSS solutions capable of managing and automating the myriad lifecycle functions in a manner that maximizes revenue creation and minimizes risk since 5G network slicing will transform the CSP’s business model.
According to The essential building blocks of E2E network slicing, “automating both business and operational processes is critical to the success of network slicing business models.” [And] “to automate both business and operational processes to meet the associated scale and complexity.”
Ericsson’s modular, automated Digital BSS and OSS workflow includes Ericsson Orchestrator, Ericsson Catalog Manager, Ericsson Order Care, Ericsson Adaptive Inventory, and Ericsson Dynamic Activation. E2E network slicing workflow orchestrates service instances and lifecycle functions seamlessly:
- Ericsson Orchestrator automates the installation of the infrastructure that will host the services, including resource orchestration, VNF life cycle management, and end-to-end service orchestration.
- Ericsson Catalog Manager onboards the slice into its service catalog, where it becomes a building block for network services. From there, products are exposed through a variety of channels.
- When a customer places an order for a new network slice-based service, Ericsson Order Care automatically triggers all related technical commands/actions for the network provisioning and activation management layer to deploy the network slice across all network domains. After that, it provides the network-based services and resources necessary to realize the commercial product offering.
- Ericsson Adaptive Inventory holds all information about network resources, status, availability, and capacity during the ordering process.
- Ericsson Dynamic Activation finally provisioned all products and services ordered in multiple network modules.
Perspectives on the horizon
For the first and second waves, the focus was on building the physical and virtual network infrastructure and deploying automation and slices within the network, for wave three, the focus is on the sales and marketing channels.
Consider tailoring your 5G network slicing offerings to the unique needs of the market segments and industry verticals you intend to target to convey the value proposition of 5G network slicing to prospective partners and customers.
The key to success is a smart go-to-market strategy. In the ADL report, Network slicing: A go-to-market guide, the top six industries most likely to have a strong demand for network slicing are: “healthcare, government, transportation, energy and utilities, manufacturing, along with media and entertainment.”
According to the report, “Six industries will have about 90% of the addressable revenue potential, based on a review of more than 400 digital use cases in 70 industries.”. Although not all 5G use cases will require network slicing, 25 to 30% of them will.
Top 10 use cases for network slicing to target advise CSPs to target the most promising use cases. The reason for this is that, out of the six target industries identified by ADL for 5G network slicing, only “one or two use cases in each will account for most of the addressable revenue in each.”
Additionally, CSPs will have to reevaluate their business models and align with new partners and third-party providers that have core expertise in the market verticals they want to target.
Taking advantage of the coming waves
As the industry matures and expands 5G network slicing offerings, it will experience three waves. As you move forward, you’ll want to target enterprise customers and use cases in your service regions, forming whatever partnerships are required to support and enable them.
At the same time, innovating and retooling many aspects of digital OSS/BSS processes and systems will enable the automation of essential business and operational network functions along the value chain, including charging, billing, catalog, and order management.
- In the first wave, CSPs will experiment with network slices by using simpler charging and billing arrangements, such as set-up and usage fees for a few slices of the network.
- In the second wave, operators will be able to identify different types of traffic running through their slice, allowing them to use more complex charging and billing specifications, business models, SLA management, and also incorporate partners into their 5G ecosystems.
- By the third wave, we expect network slices to be dynamically activated on-demand, without human interaction, transforming network operators into a 5G marketplace where multi-sided business models will deliver innovation to enterprises with several partners through B2B2X business models.
Based on ADL’s market analysis and revenue projections, especially year over year, now is the right time to make the appropriate investments in digital OSS/BSS solutions to ensure seamless and reliable 5G net slicing operations and monetization.
It is now time for service providers to adopt network slicing, gain experience in delivering services in a completely new way and prepare to maximize the potential of 5G network slicing.
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