AI and automation offer best hope for improved 5G ROI, services: Poll result

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Mar 17, 2022

  • We ran a poll during our recent Spotlight on 5G
  • We asked what would have the most positive impact on services and return on investment
  • You said a better use of AI and automation
  • Deployment of mmWave didn’t get much love...

Two of the major questions mobile network operators are asking themselves right now are: How can we improve and further develop our 5G services? And how can we get a return on our 5G investments?

With that in mind, we asked the TelecomTV community to respond to an industry poll during our recent Spotlight on 5G programming that run ahead of, during, and just after MWC22 by asking the question: Which of the following will have the most positive impact on 5G service capabilities and ROI for CSPs?

We gave the community five options, and as the number of votes grew during the final weeks of February through early March so it became clear that the key ingredient in the 5G recipe for operators is the use of AI and the introduction of automated processes.

The option “Better utilization of AI and Automation” grew in popularity and ended up with just over a third of the votes, on 34%, as the graphic above shows.

After that, it ended up being very close (though the margins were not so fine until nearly the end of our post-MWC live Q&A programmes).

In second spot was “Adoption of Cloud Native methodologies within the network” with 21% of the votes, closely followed by the deployment of a “Standalone 5G Core with multi-vendor support” with 20% (I thought this option would be a closer challenger to AI and Automation). 

And then with 19% of the votes came the “Commercial deployment of Open RAN and RIC platforms”, which is perhaps a surprisingly strong showing for an option that is so nascent and yet to prove itself in brownfield deployments.

Then, trailing a long way behind the other options, came the “Deployment of mmWave capabilities,” which garnered only 6% of the votes. 

Network operators have been banging the automation drum for years, knowing that traditional manual processes are simply going to be inefficient in every way in a cloud-oriented digital services sector, and, ultimately, using AI tools to identify and automate new ways of working and interacting with customers is going to be critical as 5G evolves and competition for consumer and enterprise budgets intensifies.

So what the whole industry needs right now is greater insight into how the deployment of AI and automated processes can be accelerated in a sustainable, secure and (let’s not forget) legal and ethical manner to help with new service creation and delivery, as well as identifying ever-smarter ways to run networks and IT platforms more efficiently: Let us know if you have any great examples and use cases already in play at network operators or if you have any feedback on our poll results. You can find us on social media (LinkedIn particularly) or you can email us at [email protected].

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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