Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud

5G unlocks exciting opportunities for CSPs. From private 5G networks to Networks-as-a-Service, the potential for B2B and B2B2X businesses is massive. To leverage 5G’s full potential, an adaptable, lucrative 5G business model is needed. That starts with a cloud-native approach to 5G standalone for agile market entry.
Recently, Joe Hoffman (Principal Analyst at Omdia) and JSC Ingenium’s own Director of Product Management, Strategy, and Transformation, Ali Boushehri, hosted a webinar on “Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud”. If you missed it, you can enjoy the session video, or keep reading to kickstart your 5G cloud transformation.

How the cloud-native future began

The story of 5G starts with the legacy of 2G. Today, we live in a world where 4G deployment is near-ubiquitous. 5G will surpass it, with the market expected to reach over 14 billion global subscribers by 2028.

The “traditional” 10-year cycle for generations compressed significantly when 3G failed to take off. This led to the base acceleration of 4G into one of the most successful generations yet. This approach is now being used for 5G non-standalone (NSA) deployments to accelerate us to the 5G future.

Unlocking monetisation and greenfield in 5G

Despite the role 5G NSA deployments play in this evolution, 5G standalone (SA) is the key to monetising 5G.

What can the past successes of 4G tell us? We compared Omnia’s data on high-income market 4G uptake to the same space in 5G. Comparing this with the overall NSA and SA 5G curve, we see a similar pattern. However, unlike the initial launches of 4G, we have 5G NSA to contend with. It uses 4G evolved packet cores – useful for service upgrades but with no new opportunities. It is when 5G NSA deployments are moved to a true 5G SA cloud-native core that monetisation happens.

5G SA allows for network slicing, moving beyond Quality of Service (QoS) controls to guaranteed service terms and delivery. Of particular interest is enterprise network slicing, or private networks. It’s also worth noting the potential of brand-new developments like Voice over New Radio (VoNR+), opening up new data channels and a new generation of mobile calling in tandem with 5G.

JSC Ingenium - Blog: Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud
There are over 2,000 mobile networks. Most of Western Europe, China, India, and North America already have 5G SA coverage. However, we see from 38% (Eastern Europe/Middle East) to 69% (Africa) of operators with no 5G at all. There are currently 221 5G SA networks and 263 operators with 0 5G in place. Most of the remainder rely on 5G NSA. A rich field of opportunity awaits!
  • We expect to see all-inclusive 5G SA development rise from $16 billion to $22 billion by 2028.
  • Private networks add $3 billion, predicted to rise to $8 billion.
  • Packet core development is predicted to be $15-16 billion.
JSC Ingenium - eBook: Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud
“Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud”

To the cloud and beyond

Proprietary, purpose-built, inflexible, and closed legacy networks are giving way to virtualised, open/white box technology and software. Lessons learned from IT have allowed for a separation between hardware and software. Providers can leverage faster software lifecycles without hardware upgrades until they are needed.

Now, we have a cloud-native future! Virtual machines are replaced by cloud-native machines and containers. Modular development allows for ultra-quick development and deployment.

From there, where? Telco-as-a-Service (Taas). More services can be sold, private networks and enterprise-focused services become a reality, and automated modular APIs used on-demand are a reality.

The three stages of cloud maturity

5G SA is a cloud-native product. To be competitive, you need to be agile and adaptive. Hyperscalers already offer cloud-native frameworks (CNFs). CSPs need to act fast to ensure the market doesn’t outpace them.

There are 3 key stages to cloud maturity:

  1. Telco Cloud: Cloud mature CSPs have their own cloud environment, moving towards Cloud-as-a-Service (Caas). GitOps, DevOps, and CI/CD culture is agile, with strong vendor relationships. They have a clear roadmap and develop focused solutions for their market.
  2. Transitioning: These CSPs are actively moving towards the cloud, but struggling with their strategy. They need to break free from traditional operations but are moving in the right direction.
  3. Advanced TCN: These are CSPs with traditional operations looking for an integrated full-stack solution. They often lack a cloud strategy altogether. They need to get “cloud-ready” for hassle-free migration.
You need to begin with creating your cloud structures, possibly even with cloud IMS, if you’re lacking VoLTE and cloud network experience. From there, true CNF development happens. Remember, proactivity is critical to your future returns!

Challenges facing 5G

What challenges arise as we move to this future?
  • Multi-cloud and CNF development (lack of capability).
  • Evolving to a multi-vendor environment (a mindset shift).
  • Blending legacy and cloud-native handling.
JSC Ingenium - Blog: Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud
Additionally, there are impacts on both operations and vendor relationships, including:
  • Added complexity with integration.
  • Initial outlay on CNF and microservices can be more costly, although with more payback.
  • Separation of software and infrastructure.
  • Evolution of management responsibilities.
How do we create a resilient and adaptive business model?
  • Using “any-G solutions” instead of single legacy technologies.
  • Avoiding wasteful incremental upgrades. 5G SA CNF upgrades should be the priority.
  • Ensure compatibility with certified CaaS products and CNI networks.
  • Use a multi-vendor strategy emphasising flexibility, portability, and openness.
  • Embrace DevOps, CI/CD, and automation.
  • Choose scalable and versatile solutions.
  • Control your own roadmap for full monetisation and open technology.
  • Use flexible pricing models for future-forward adaptability.

JSC Ingenium: your 5G and IMS telco cloud partner

JSC Ingenium offers a full-suit portfolio to boost performance, streamline operations, and enhance revenue management – a holistic solution for the modern CSP. We offer IMS, hyperelastic 5G cloud-native mobile core, as well as Business Support Systems – with efficient real-time billing and CRM.

We offer:

  • Native any-G network clouds (easier maintenance, lower TCO).
  • Containerised deployments serving new and legacy technologies that are easily configurable and programmable.
  • Sustainable PPU business models to smooth cashflow.
  • Scalability for all subscriber base sizes.
And above all, our solutions are open and easy to deploy and operate.