US communications firm sees new ‘flexibility’ model for 5G operators

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With the market at the brink of a whole new level of connectivity with the coming of 5G, telecommunications providers are all expecting a rise in the number of subscribers. Subscribers, in turn, are expecting faster connectivity speeds in low latency with 5G-compatible devices available to them. Businesses who rely on automation, IoTs, and Web-based business models are also expecting a shift in costs and revenue when the successor of 4G goes live.

Mavenir senior VP and head for Asia Pacific Sam Saba

Although some 5G service providers are starting to pop up around the world, they’re still limited. As such, Mavenir — a software-based telecommunications networking provider based in Richardson, Texas — is studying the various factors that could affect its deployment.

Sam Saba, Mavenir senior VP and head for Asia Pacific, believes that the case of 5G deployment will not be similar to 4G. With the first four generations primed towards connecting the world, the next generation aims to connect the world to everything else. This is why the infrastructure built on previous generations will be deemed obsolete in the long run, and this fact may prove to be too costly for businesses undergoing the shift to digitizing their operations.

Mavenir sees the need for new network economics in the telecom ecosystem and offers new capabilities like network slicing which scales down solutions so they can be pushed closer to the edge. Their 5G cloud native core technology is expected to be a dramatic shift from legacy networking paradigms and supports applications for consumers, enterprise, and industrial purposes instead of serving a few applications and device types.

Some of the use cases posed by advanced communication includes chatbots, plugins, AI, and third-party industrial applications. But aside from messaging and third-party business examples, what distinguishes Mavenir’s solution is its ability to transform classic or centralized RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture, to a virtualized one.

In 2012, 13 large-scale telecom network operators seeded the idea of Network Functions Virtualization, a proposal to transform how networks and services are built in order to achieve cost savings in capital and operating expenses (CAPEX, OPEX) and accelerate service development which is proportional with time to market. In the case of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), it will be cost-efficient and convenient to deploy software-based network functions on general purpose hardware instead of having to install proprietary appliances with every addition of a new network function.

Aside from the savings, what these businesses get is the flexibility upon deployment and agility when it comes to their services as they can react quicker to changing business conditions. For mobile operators, virtualization for the RAN will improve performance while reducing costs, since the main dilemma is how they will profit from the investments when they shift to 5G. The fully virtualized implementations can easily allow these operators to locate processing power flexibly and cost effectively, where it is needed in any given time.

Based on total cost of ownership (TCO) studies conducted by Senza Fili Consulting, significant cost-savings is achievable through vRAN deployment in a five-year period on a real-world scenario with a high-density area. The TCO model shows a 37% deployment and operational costs reduction since the capex savings are derived from the virtualization of baseband units which reduces hardware needed with more efficient compute resource utilization, while the opex savings come from reduced maintenance routines and power and operations savings.

With lower spending and less equipment needed partnered with a faster and flexible deployment rate, vRAN is poised not only to reduced TCO and push scalability and network virtualization to the mobile network edge. Legacy service delivery and business models would have to adapt as well, but it is only natural when faced with a large-scale adoption like this.

Around 67% of the world’s population, or near 5.1 billion, are already unique mobile subscribers with further penetration growth projected by 2025. In order to stay relevant and adapt to the increasing demands, what Mavenir offers to operators is the chance to not only accommodate the demand, but cut costs while they’re at it. 5G might be limited, but it only means the market is far from maturation, and there is still space to keep options open.

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