With many operators launching 5G networks in 2022, 2023 is poised to see great industry turbulence. As CSPs roll out 5G and try to maintain their legacy systems, they will also be incorporating new advanced analytics capabilities, tackling roaming and interconnection challenges associated with sunsetting legacy networks, and closing up security holes that emerge with every new technological development.
In 2022 we focused on developing our “Active Intelligence Platform” (AIP) and partnering with a few customers to solve some of their most complex challenges based on a new cloud-native analytics foundation. We made notable advances in areas such as network degradation monitoring and self-healing, real-time fraud and security prevention, and integrated customer experience management.
In 2023, we’re excited to launch a new version of our Active Intelligence Platform, which will bring the best of our real-time analytics and automation capabilities while providing unparalleled user empowerment across a wide range of domains and applications.
We believe that AIP is uniquely positioned to help CSPs tackle challenges associated with the transition to 5G. With a platform that integrates testing, service assurance, engagement and customer experience intelligence, roaming analytics, and risk management and security, Mobileum is increasingly becoming the hub operators rely on to gather the customer and network insights required to grow their business, optimize their operations, and improve customer experience.
Let’s take a look at each of these key impact areas.
5G Rollouts and Analytics
The biggest challenge in 2023, as well as the greatest opportunity, remains the continuous deployment and rollout of 5G networks. While new technology launches always have their own challenges based on upgrading equipment and spectrum-based coverage impacts, 5G adds a new layer of complexity that comes with related technological innovation.
The rollout of 5G standalone and the deployment of mmWave for large-scale mobile consumer networks are expected to bolster edge computing and IoT use cases. Network slicing and the ability to better target users and monitor their network experience will add new revenue streams and monetization opportunities. In addition, operators will increasingly integrate and interact with cloud-native technologies and parallel networks (blockchain and STIR/SHAKEN networks).
From a customer experience and engagement perspective, with heavy video data traffic that is mostly encrypted, CSPs struggle to capture independent data and are forced to rely on host sites like Netflix and YouTube to provide subscriber-level information.
“Operators need to test, monitor, and benchmark 5G QoS for both NSA and SA deployments, measure throughput, latency, and the performance of EPS fallback for services as they transition from 5GNR to LTE. Furthermore, as they transition to SA deployments, they need to monitor an increasingly complex virtualized network core, instantiate and monitor SLAs for various network slices and cater to both consumers, IoT, and industrial performance requirements.” - Gabriel Chiriacescu (SVP, Head of Test & Service Assurance)
More and more, CSPs will need to equip themselves with the tools to gather individual subscriber metrics to ensure customers are happy, services evolve according to their expectations, videos stream seamlessly, and monetization opportunities are identified and captured.
With 5G implementations and the sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks, roaming challenges are expected to continue in 2023 and beyond. This is because 2G and 3G networks have been used to extend coverage where the 4G (and now 5G) networks have gaps.
Decommissioning these older networks results in some areas no longer having access to mobile connectivity due to legacy devices not being compatible with newer networks, preventing users from accessing mobile services while roaming, a particular problem for international travelers. This is where steering or roaming steps in, guiding roaming traffic to preferred networks based on analytics-driven insights.
Precise Steering of Roaming will be essential to avoid negative customer experiences and subsequent customer churn. CSPs will need to monitor partner network health and an individual’s roaming experience. That way, they can intelligently reroute their customers to the most appropriate network.
As indicated in our Top 2022 Priorities as the Race to 5G Tipping Point Accelerates article:
“Steering based on quality will become increasingly important with the growth of critical OTT services that demand ubiquitous high-quality coverage but also has several associated benefits, such as increasing customer loyalty and reducing customer churn.”
Bridging the roaming gap will become a bigger priority in 2023. Operators will have to resort to roaming hubs to accelerate the interconnection with multiple roaming partners and efficiently manage their roaming traffic, provide real-time visibility into roaming usage and revenue and optimize their roaming rates and margins.
“I think the introduction of the “Telecommunications Security Act” in the United Kingdom and the associated guidance is hugely significant, not just for the United Kingdom. I think those rules and requirements will spread across the world.” - Stephen Ornadel (Senior VP – Security Solutions)
The Act contains a number of provisions that could impact CSPs, including:
- Requirements to have robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect their networks and services from threats such as cyberattacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access.
- Obligations to report certain security incidents to the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and to take steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
- Powers for the UK government to issue directions to CSPs on security matters, including the ability to order the removal of equipment or software that poses a threat to the security of the UK's telecommunications infrastructure.
- Penalties for CSPs that fail to comply with the Act's requirements, including fines and the potential for criminal prosecution.
These provisions will likely impact operators not just inside the UK but worldwide as security threats become a more prevalent issue and governments clamp down with additional regulations.
Operators will have to fix their security and ensure that their customers and consumers are protected. It will be absolutely critical because the threats don't go away. As demonstrated by the current geopolitical situation in Ukraine, we expect to see attacks on physical infrastructure as well as cyberattacks to increase, not decrease in frequency and severity, with other bad actors encouraged more and more as those attacks are successful.
As the telecom industry transforms, new risks and fraud types will surface. Operators must remain vigilant, build a strong defense foundation, and develop their own threat intelligence to protect themselves proactively against these emerging threats.
Evolving Business Model
CSPs indicate a growing interest in uncovering monetization opportunities available in 5G network data. As a result, several revenue-augmentation options leveraging the unique characteristics of 5G technology are emerging.
Increased Data Usage: With 5G, CSPs can offer higher data speeds and lower latency, leading to increased data usage at higher-tiered data plan rates.
Internet of Things (IoT) applications: 5G enables the deployment of IoT applications, such as smart cities and connected vehicles, which can generate new sources of revenue in the business and government space.
Edge Computing: Deploying Edge Computing Services, which allows data to be processed closer to the source, reducing latency and increasing the data transfer speeds, can boost B2B revenues.
Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB): Enhanced mobile broadband services, such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), available for both consumer and business use, are likely to expand rapidly and be monetized through subscriptions and one-time fee models.
Partnerships and collaboration: Operators can partner with companies in various industries to offer 5G-based services, such as telemedicine, remote education, gaming, and e-commerce, generating new sources of revenue. Given their position in the ecosystem, Telcos can also be a catalyst for new B2B partnerships and help Enterprises derive value from the Metaverse, Private Networks, and IIoT.
Overall, the monetization opportunities for CSPs through 5G technology are vast and varied, with specific revenue enhancement choices depending on the capabilities and strengths of each CSP.
It’s a New 5G World
As 2023 starts to unfold, we look forward to partnering with CSPs as they roll out their new network fabric and optimize their network operations. Leveraging strong data analytics, a robust cyber defense strategy, advanced testing and service assurance capabilities, and targeted subscriber and network insights will be key for operators to be on top of their game and to deliver a strong return for all their stakeholders.