It Is Possible!
A recent survey of mobile operators globally found that 27% of the 41 operators surveyed will deploy 5G SA within 12-18 months with a further 10% within 24 months. With the maturity of 3GPP standards, such as the Release 16 freeze in March 2020, operators now see a clear path to 5G SA infrastructure. The overall timeline is supported by a total of 49% of operators who plan to deploy 5G SA within the next 4 years.
Responses to the survey reveal that operators choose different strategies when it comes to the edge. About 85% of operators are planning edge deployments at some point, but more than half of the operators in the survey have no strategy for doing so. Approximately 32% are going only with limited, specific-use cases such as smart factories, smart cities, or retail, while others are holding off until the business case for edge deployment becomes more viable.
The survey also includes a section about the network data layer which serves as single point of storage for all data about subscriptions, network services, devices, and connections, in a 5G network. Responses show that more than 50% of operators plan to move to a common network data layer across their network functions as they roll out 5G. Only 2% say they will keep vendor-specific data storage, indicating that the time has come to make architectural choices.
“Operators are beginning to firm up plans for how they will implement flexible, multi-vendor service architectures that enable them to deploy and monetize their 5G networks and differentiate their services” said Sue Rudd, Director, Networks and Service Platforms, Strategy Analytics. “The survey indicates that several operators have figured out how to deploy SA in the next couple of years. This could be as ‘islands’ of 5G radio access with a 5G SA core for special services, starting late 2021.”
Factors for Choosing a Network Data Layer
Operators in the survey also listed the most important factors for choosing a network data layer. The top 3 are:
1. Gaining a unified view of customer data.
2. The ability to deploy in slices or at the edge.
3. The ability to monetize subscriber data.
For a country of just over 4 million people, Kuwait has more than 7 million mobile subscribers. This means its mobile penetration rate of 168% is one of the highest in the world. Zain Kuwait also has an extremely high mobile data consumption per SIM, driven in large part by users sharing and streaming mobile videos, according to a recent report. Given that consumption rate, video buffering can be a major frustration in the Middle East. It can cause subscribers to abandon a video within just 6 seconds, which often is enough to make a subscriber switch to another operator.
To ensure that subscribers don’t suffer from poor quality of experience (QoE) — such as long wait times and degraded video quality — Zain Kuwait is deploying Enea Openwave’s full traffic management suite. It enables transparent classification of encrypted video flows to balance picture and playback video quality in real time according to radio network conditions.
Subscribers can benefit from smoother video streaming and improved Internet browsing. The operator can also manage the rising levels of encrypted video traffic to deliver outstanding QoE for our subscribers.
For more information about the Enea Openwave study, Survey: One Third of Mobile Operators Will Deploy 5G Standalone within Two Years, published March 12, 2020, please visit https://owmobility.com/press-releases/survey-one-third-of-mobile-operators-will-deploy-5g-standalone-within-two-years/. You can register for a complimentary copy of Worldwide mobile operator survey – 5G Data Management detailing the research findings and a discussion on their implications, at https://landing.owmobility.com/5g-mobile-operator-survey/.
For more information about Strategy Analytics, please visit https://www.strategyanalytics.com/. Sue Rudd, Director Networks and Service Platforms, Strategy Analytics, can be contacted via email: email@example.com.
“Zain Kuwait Users Are The Most Active Mobile Data Users In The World” by Alert, March 6, 2020. Alertify Roaming & Technology & Travel, Analysis & Reports. https://alertify.eu/zain-kuwait-users-the-first-most-active-mobile-data-users-in-the-world/.
About the Author: John Giere, President, Enea Openwave, has almost 30 years of wireless industry management experience in sales, product management, marketing, and business development. Prior to Enea Openwave, John was President and CEO of Openwave Mobility, and GM of the mediation business unit for Openwave Systems; earlier John served as CMO for Alcatel-Lucent and Lucent Technologies. The Openwave division of Enea provides solutions to mobile operators for Video Traffic Management and 5G Data Management. Their solutions alleviate RAN congestion and unify data from 5G virtualized applications. For more information about Enea Openwave Division, please visit https://owmobility.com/.