We’re poised to see a quantum leap in telecom technology – and 5G will be at the center as the most powerful, efficient, and intelligent set of mobile phone and data communication capabilities to date. Telecom providers need to begin transforming their networks for the 5G future today, while continuing to confront myriad legacy struggles ‒ including 4G/LTE build outs, shrinking customer revenue, and increased competition from OTT (over-the-top) competitors.
Preparing for 5G while keeping the lights on for today’s business is a heavy lift, but progress is already underway. The good news is many providers are further along the 5G migration path than they may realize. According to IDC, 68% of telecom leaders are actively implementing or planning network virtualization.
Network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are key to updating the three network areas that providers need to transform when creating a 5G network: the radio access network, the core network, and the service creation layer.
NFV and SDN help create a composable network core that decouples the user and control planes, allowing services and applications to be moved closer to the network edge and providing the flexibility to meet the high bandwidth, low latency requirements and scale needed to support 5G.
What business benefits will 5G deliver for telecom providers? Running a faster network enables more rapid, comprehensive data collection, which can increase revenue, enhance network performance, improve customer experience and retention and accelerate new services and revenue opportunities.
These advantages are not a given. To experience the full power of 5G, providers will need to adopt an “intelligence-first” approach to managing core networks. Providers should begin work now to increase their network intelligence and implement analytics as this investment will pay dividends in the short and long terms. Real-time network insight – gleaned from continuously streaming session control, subscriber events/data, and other data events ‒ is an essential enabler of network and operational intelligence.
Below are just a few examples from a Dell EMC study that show how real-time analytics can help providers streamline networks and optimize revenues:
- One provider reduced call center traffic and saved $28 million in unnecessary data usage rebates after providing call center agents with a detailed customer data dashboard
- Another enterprise cut the number of calls about mobile data usage that escalated to second or third line support and saved $7 million annually on a base of 10 million customers
- A third provider increased conversion campaign results by 30% by identifying dynamic segments of customers eligible for a data plan upgrade and sending personalized offers in real-time
By combining real-time analytics with the flexibility introduced by network virtualization, telecom operators can stream network data in real-time and generate the insights needed to achieve results like these and much more. But how can providers rapidly process and analyze the massive amounts of network data to unearth such vital and valuable insights?
Dell EMC has partnered with Affirmed Networks to create an industry- first and “intelligence first” implementation of integrated virtual probes with Affirmed’s Virtual Evolved Packet Core that streams data in an open format to Dell EMC’s underlying platform that can provide complex event processing on the data in realtime or store it in a data lake for historical analytics. View our infographic for more information and to see more real world examples of what virtual probes and data analytics can do for telecom.
The future of 5G is closer than we think. A real-time analytics investment today can put telecom providers in a strong position to leverage 5G networks and increase network intelligence well into the future.
 Skillsets at a Virtual Crossroad, Part 4 of, The Transformative CIO: The Power and Challenges of Change, IDC, 2015 (https://app-eu.clickdimensions.com/blob/ericssoncom-ar0ma/files/transformativeciopart4.pdf).
 Bringing Virtual Probes and Analytics Together for the Next-Generation Mobile Network, Dell EMC, 2016.