Unlocking 5G with the Telco Cloud
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
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.
- 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.
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
There are 3 key stages to cloud maturity:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Challenges facing 5G
- Multi-cloud and CNF development (lack of capability).
- Evolving to a multi-vendor environment (a mindset shift).
- Blending legacy and cloud-native handling.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.