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Steve Legge, the COO of award-winning, US-headquartered NetNumber, says CSPs will make a big and potentially very costly mistake if they focus on 5G alone. That's because, despite its importance, 5G is but one part of ongoing overall network transformations across the entirety of the global telecoms industry. As he says, "We are at an inflection point where two innovative and disruptive technologies, 5G and cloud native infrastructure architectures, are coming together."
It's going to take some years for transformation to work its way through the world's networks but CSPs must focus on both sides of the transformed network equation and to take full cognisance of the massive changes that are being wrought in underlying infrastructure.
Tempting as it might be for CSPs to focus just on the network core for 5G, the reality is that networks simply do not operate in magnificent isolation protected from other technologies and the outside world. That's why the new technologies need to come together on a common platform with a programmable software core. That will be vital to ensure network flexibility in the months and years to come because a single, standardised core will not permit or enable flexible integration of features and services in the future and without that capability CSPs will suffer, lose traction and perhaps even fail altogether.
Meanwhile, Pieter Veenstra emphasises that the prime concerns of CSPs right now must be security and data protection. He points out that although 5G is being designed and implemented with security and data protection in mind, CSPs cannot rest on their laurels because hacking is now so prevalent and insidious that it has become an outlaw industry in its own right. And it is the dedicated enemy of network operators and telcos everywhere using the self-same tools as the CSPs, including AI, computing power and the Internet, to attack and defraud them.
That's why the CSPs need comprehensive security, privacy and fraud prevention strategies in place to cover the entire network infrastructure, not just 5G. Certainly 5G is being designed from the ground up with security at the forefront but the complexity of networks continues to increase and hackers will sneak in through any chink in security armour and wreak expensive havoc. It's much better to prevent an attack that to have to clear up the mess once one has taken place.
Featuring: Steve Legge, COO, NetNumber & Pieter Veenstra, GSMA subgroup chair and key contributor, NetNumber
Filmed at 5G World 2019, London
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