To better understand whether network slicing is a top-of-mind concern for communication service providers (CSPs), and to better understand CSPs’ current approaches to 5G network slice management and monetization, Amdocs, a leading provider of software and services to communications and media companies, today revealed the findings from a new survey of 50 CSPs worldwide, which found that 54 per cent are already trialling a 5G network slicing solution, while 30 per cent plan to trial one next year.
For CSPs, network slicing introduces the ability to build scalable and dedicated logical/virtual networks, allowing them to support diverse services with specific performance or control requirements on a common network platform to address a large variety of use cases, services, industries and customers.
CSPs currently focused on simplifying network infrastructure
Reducing the level of complexity and improving efficiency in 5G and network slicing is a main driver for CSPs adopting a 5G network slicing management and automation solution, with the research finding that CSPs expect the top three benefits network slicing will bring to their business to be:
- Simplification and automation of the network (66 per cent)
- Enables an enhanced and targeted customer experience (52 per cent)
- Cuts time-to-market and time-to-customer for network services (50 per cent)
Network slicing to support connected homes and smart cities with 5G
Three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents stated that the service-based use cases will see the biggest impact of 5G network slicing, e.g. IoT, connected cars and smart homes, as CSPs prepare to offer bespoke 5G connectivity for specific use cases, in order to ensure their customers benefit from higher speeds and capacity, and lower-latency. Using 5G network slicing for vertical industry-based use cases, e.g. health, agriculture and manufacturing, came second at 18 per cent.
Other key findings from the research, conducted in collaboration with Coleman Parkes, included:
- 76 per cent believed that to cut time-to-market and reduce fail risk/cost, it is vital to automate the end-to-end network slice lifecycle from design to fulfilment and operations
- 70 per cent believed their current operational systems cannot handle the adaptive, real-time resource allocation needed for 5G network slicing management
- 52 per cent believed Network Slice as-a-Service (NSaaS) will be the leading approach to network slice monetization, while 30 per cent expect to charge for specific Quality-of-Service parameters (e.g. throughput, latency)
- Over one in ten (12 per cent) CSPs intend to support hundreds of network slices, while 44 per cent plan to support tens of slices.
Oren Marmur, head of NFV at Amdocs, said that: “With virtual infrastructure and programable 5G networks, the granularity and speed with which CSPs can introduce and deliver services will substantially impact their ability to monetize the network. A 5G slicing management entity for holistic, automated end-to-end network slice lifecycle management must therefore be an integral part of the CSP’s 5G monetization platform, enabling them to best position the organization to revolutionize its service offerings.”
He continued: “This in turn, based on a wide range of new 5G use cases, will enable them to unleash a whole new world of network services and monetization possibilities that can support complex consumer and enterprise business models.”