Vodafone taps Google Cloud to unify network performance insights

  • Vodafone has partnered with Google Cloud and Cardinality.io to build a pan-European cloud-based network performance platform
  • The single system will obtain data about the way its networks perform across 11 markets, replacing hundreds of legacy software tools
  • Vodafone expects customers to gain a faster and more efficient network following the move
  • This is a “pivotal” time for the industry as Vodafone transforms into a “software-based tech comms company,” emphasises Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK

Vodafone has unveiled a unified cloud-native network performance platform designed to analyse some 8 billion data points daily across its European markets, a move that is set to bring about quicker and more reliable mobile experience capabilities as a result.

The telco said it collaborated with hyperscaler Google Cloud and data analytics and AI software specialist Cardinality.io to create the pan-European system, which is in the process of being implemented across the 11 countries in Europe in which it operates.

Notably, the Vodafone Unified Performance Management (UPM) system will replace more than 100 separate network performance applications currently used by providing a “a single source of clean data in the cloud” which can be analysed and optimised using AI.

The information will be held in “a secure cloud data pool” and will help Vodafone monitor and enhance its mobile network operations in Europe, including critical national infrastructure (CNI). The company will also change the ways it plans, builds and manages its  networks in the next five years.

Vodafone will also utilise the platform when prioritising 5G spending towards sites with greater demand. These include urban areas, travel corridors, ports, industrial hubs, private networks and rural communities with “patchy” coverage.

The platform will help data scientists gain deeper insights into traffic patterns and other network-related data as they will be able of process and analyse up to 8 billion mobile network performance events on a daily basis. Therefore, the operator claims it will be able to add capacity and integrate new connectivity as a response to major incidents, public and political events, manage energy efficiency and restore services in the wake of weather-related adversity.

“As the needs of our 300 million plus mobile customers evolve so will our network using this new platform. It is a global data hub that gives us a real-time view of what is happening anywhere on our network, uses our global scale to manage traffic growth cheaper and more efficiently as customer data consumption grows by around 40% per year, and supports the full automation of our network by 2025,” commented Johan Wibergh, Vodafone Group’s Chief Technology Officer.

Silver lining to the cloud

The platform will use Google Cloud’s smart analytics portfolio and ML/AI tools, alongside Cardinality.io’s cloud-native DataOps and analytics platform, to deliver “the solution on the best of breed hybrid cloud architecture.” All data will be stored at Vodafone’s own on-premises data lake on servers in Europe: The operator noted it will be protected “with appropriate state of the art security and privacy protections such as encryption, anonymisation, pseudonymisation and aggregation”. Access will be given only to authorised users.

“Moving data to the cloud while providing governance across multiple on-premises sites is an immense challenge,” said Vivek Gupta, Director, Network AI and Telecom Partnerships, Global Telecom Industry Solutions, Google Cloud. “Cardinality.io’s close integration with Google Cloud unlocks immense value for Vodafone as it seeks to provide an unparalleled customer experience to its European subscriber base.”

“With Vodafone UPM, Cardinality.io provides the bridge that makes it possible to efficiently move data from multiple far edge locations to a centralised Google Cloud data repository,” said Prashant Kumar, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Cardinality.io.

Vodafone UK Chief Network Officer, Andrea Dona, commented that now is a very “pivotal time” to be in the telecoms industry, as the operator looks to shift from the traditional communications provider role to a “software-based tech comms company.” He also described the “power” behind the tool as “one platform, one secure source, 8 billion data points to draw from.”

The moves comes shortly after Dona reiterated a vision by Vodafone to create a unified culture across its European footprint. (See Vodafone UK to develop open partner ecosystem as it targets new revenue streams.)

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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