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5G Core Summit

September 2024


Interview with Don Alusha, Senior Analyst at ABI

Don Alusha, Senior Analyst at ABI, discusses the current trends and challenges in the core network industry, particularly focusing on the shift towards cloud intelligence and platform proliferation. He emphasizes the need for flexibility and scalability in the new core network, as well as the importance of implementing automation in an end-to-end fashion to maximize benefits. Don will address these topics in his session at the 5G Core Summit 2023, providing actionable guidance for CSPs in managing the operational and commercial risks associated with cloudified 5GC networks.

What are some of the big industry trends, services and business models you are seeing?  

  • Today, conversations in core network largely focus on two dimensions: One, how to generate revenue, both incremental MBB revenue and net new business. And two, scale back on operational costs with next-gen planning tools, programmability, automation, monitoring and management.  

  • There is a general trend emerging around cloud intelligence and platform proliferation. Technology innovation from the IT domain is one factor here. Another factor is industry’s ongoing efforts to advance from virtual network functions (VNFs) to cloud-native network functions (CNFs).  This presents some interesting challenges for all suppliers in the industry, but it also introduces new opportunities.  

  • There is no doubt that 5GC and cloud technology marks a significant change for CSPs, and change equates to risk that CSPs, working closely with their suppliers, need to manage. For CSPs, 5GC means change in operating model and change in existing business model. Everybody is in an experimentation mode. CSPs know that they have to modernise their core and are in the process of doing that, but some are at a different stage relative to others.  

What sort of features are you considering in this new core network?  

  • CSPs continue to seek flexibility in allocating network resources dynamically. They ask suppliers to include a scale-in/scale-out capability in their core network so it can scale up and scale down instantaneously and on demand.  

  • CSPs seek that their suppliers support them to apply horizontal technologies (automation and orchestration software, big data and analytics, CI/CD and DevOps principles) to several vertical arrangements including IT and network workloads and including public networks and private networks. 

  • Avoid a narrow automation scope. Ultimately, CSPs will obtain the most benefits if they implement automation in an E2E fashion—either across all layers within a single domain or across all layers in a cross-domain setting. Implementing automation partially may not introduce large-scale benefits.  

How will you address these in your session at the 5G Core Summit 2023?  

  • This session will provide an overview on the trends impacting core network evolution and highlighting their relevance for CSPs’ ongoing digital transformation efforts. 

  • In the session we will discuss technical and commercial challenges and opportunities that are associated with ongoing 5GC adoption.  

  • In addition, the session will also aim to provide some actionable guidance in terms of focus areas for CSPs going forward to manage operational and commercial risk associated with cloudified 5GC networks.  

What one piece of advice would you give Telcos embarking on the 5G Core deployment journey? What are some of the ways that they can overcome the challenges?  

  • CSPs should have a plan that, in the short-term, deals with the coexistence of 4G EPC and 5GC, and, in the long term, paves the way solely for a 5GC network. Wholesale 5GC adoption must start with a commitment to End-to-End (E2E) network cloudification and implementing E2E automation across multiple layers and partners.

Don Alusha will be speaking at 5G Core Summit, which takes place in Istanbul from 14-15 November. Register for your pass here.