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OSS/BSS modernization is important in the era of 5G and digital transformation. Dalia Nabil, Head of Pre-sales, Cloud and Network Services, Nokia MEA explains to Telecom Review all about the transformative impact of 5G on OSS/BSS systems and the role that Nokia is playing in that space.

5G is a transformative technology. How will it transform and impact OSS/BSS systems?

5G, which is fundamentally different from previous technologies, is all about use cases and new business opportunities. 5G networks is a platform for value creation, to support new business models (B2B2B and B2B2C).

One of the many challenges to overcome to fully realize the future of 5G, is the complexity of the current operations and business support systems (BSS). For decades, service providers have been implementing complicated and customized layers and silos, which led to a platform far from being agile and dynamic.

With the acceleration of the launch of commercial 5G services around the world, especially after the pandemic, expectations for new use cases and opportunities are exponentially increasing. Much of the promise of these new use cases will come with the implementation of new 5G core technologies that enhance the ability to deliver dynamic end-to-end network slicing and automated operations.

Service providers must maximize their return on investment by enabling dynamic new business capabilities to capture every revenue opportunity brought by 5G. That cannot be achieved with static legacy business and operations support systems (OSS/BSSs), having old architectures, limited flexibility and lack of real-time monetization capabilities. 

Monetization solutions must also be open to enable CSPs to digitally interact with customers and partners. In addition, business agility is required so that highly dynamic digital services can seamlessly be brought to market rapidly. All of these must be delivered with greater operational efficiency than ever to support the massive growth in data and devices at lower costs.

 

How important is it to modernize OSS/BSS in the 5G era? What are the challenges here?

A wise man once said, “You cannot keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results”. Capitalizing on 5G opportunities will require a complete rethinking of the traditional approaches to both network and service operations, including the people and processes that power them. But that evolution should happen incrementally, with automation and AI essential to getting service providers from where they are today to where they want to be - a fully integrated, outside-in, market-driven approach to operations.

Modernization is critical to be able to dynamically turn network, technology and other assets into business. The challenges are many including:

  • Legacy customized systems with ad hoc point-to-point integrations
  • Complex IT architectures with no open interfaces
  • Siloed organizations with manual steps and no close loop processes
  • Legacy offering with existing customer base not used to digital channels
  • Long time to market (TTM) in order to define new service/offering

What role does automation play in the modernization and optimization of OSS/BSS?

5G network-based services with multiple slices and diverse SLAs to uphold will be too dynamic for static, open-loop operational systems and processes to keep up. Automation and AI need to be “designed-in” to 5G service and network operations from the start. This will help service providers with four concerns in particular: cost, quality, agility and security.

For service providers to address those challenges and automate successfully, service providers will need to put in place an automation-native architecture.

 

What impact does network slicing have on OSS/BSS?

In the 5G era, the network-as-platform will act as enabler of enterprise innovation – for use by enterprises to develop and deliver solutions to their own markets. By leveraging the software-based capabilities of the 5G network, service providers will create virtualized portions of the network (“slices”) that they can sell to third parties who can then build 5G capabilities into their own enterprise and consumer offerings.

The service provider network will consist of many slices, each can be adapted to a different industry set of requirements in terms of latency, throughput and other parameters. Whether it is a university campus, a mining company or a multi country logistics player, each enterprise could have a “slice” of the network to deliver its use cases. These slices will then need to be orchestrated, operated, and assured in closed-loop cycles so agreed-upon service-level agreements (SLAs) are upheld.

According to Analysis Mason, enterprise-focused business use cases, such as mobile edge computing and network slicing, will require modern, scalable, real-time charging systems. Further, the report states that, “…it will be beneficial for service providers to deploy all new stacks to support these use cases rather than investing in enhancing legacy billing/charging systems.”

 

Where is Nokia in OSS/BSS modernization for 5G networks? And how are you addressing the security aspect?

Nokia has the network expertise, software solutions and global services to help telecommunications companies plan for and carry out their 5G evolution. Our deep understanding of 5G operations and our end-to-end 5G portfolio provide a clear path forward to connect the network to the business, monetize using new business model, adopt closed-loop processes and establish a truly outside-in approach to innovation.

Nokia has extensive references around the globe and is trusted by 270+ service providers supporting 1.8 billion subscribers for monetization and OSS. For reference, Nokia deployed 5G CHF, that is already live in Tier-1 NAM operator’s multivendor 5G SA Core serving millions of customers. Other reference is with Singtel, based on a Network as a Service (NaaS) approach that provides customers with highly customizable services for a variety of 5G use cases and applications enabled by Nokia’s next-generation operations suite.

Security remains a key consideration for all service providers as they move towards 5G. What’s essential is that security be built into 5G services by design, not as an afterthought. It needs to be in place any time a new service is launched, or new partners and customers are connected to the network. Without it, the massive new revenue opportunities of 5G will be at risk.

There are three key things service providers would require for security operations in the 5G era: 1) a holistic security management approach; 2) implementation of the SOAR model (security orchestration, analytics and response); and 3) digital trust.

By connecting silos, enabling “cross-slice visibility”, harnessing AI, SOAR systems and maintaining digital trust, service providers can ensure the highest degree of assurance for all network activities, all while relieving human beings from tasks they won’t otherwise be able to keep up with in the complex, dynamic 5G environment.

 

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