Beyond the 5G Hype
Take Aways from MWC 2017
So MWC is behind us :-). And the telecom industry can breathe again, or at least we all hope so. Every year it seems to me that the industry officially launches itself at MWC – and perhaps with good reason. After all nearly 108K visitors attended this year. Maybe not as many as the organizers hoped, but definitely up from 2016.
ECI too was there, trying to rise above the noise of autonomous cars, robots and VR. It is no secret that this show is less about the infrastructure and more about the “cool things” in life – like new handsets, new apps, ….. and this year the cars had it. In fact one speaker, started his presentation by saying that “Since I don’t have a car to show you, you will all probably leave soon”…..
5G – the savior of the telecoms industry?
For us telecoms vendors, everything seemed to revolve around 5G. Or at least that is how it felt. Every product launch, every pitch seemed to be tied to that all encompassing “enabler”. Whether it was great promise of new revenue streams…. Or renewed investment after a long draught, every conversation started or ended with 5G. And depending who you talked to, 5G was either just around the corner or half a decade away at least.
Most importantly – while nearly 40% of mobile operators claim they will offer 5G services – what is still not clear is ‘what ROI, if any, will be had from investment in 5G. Yes 5G is big in promises of more data, more speed and more devices…. But not yet clear on the “more revenue” 😕
ECI’s Hayim Porat took on the 5G promise in his session ‘5G: Beyond the Hype”. Mr. Porat challenged the industry suggesting that today there is still a gap between the ‘vision’ and reality. Because 5G is not just about investing in infrastructure, it is about making fundamental changes in the way the telecoms industry works. Radical changes in processes and mindsets. A change the industry has been talking about for years, yet nowhere nearer to implementing.
So what does AI have to do with 5G networking?
It is no secret that telecoms underlying infrastructure and work processes have remained relatively static for decades. In part, driven by rigid equipment and in part, by a few large vendors enjoying the status quo. Now, with 5G on the horizon, this ‘stability’ has its consequences.
ECI believes that 5G will be the beginning of the end of an era with a major impact on network architecture. In 5G, the sheer amount of traffic, and the different types of traffic on the network, will require a different way of working. Service providers will no longer be able to manually provision services or manually audit network resources. Automated, self-organizing networks will be required and more systems will need to be offloaded to AI (artificial intelligence) driven architectures.
The telecom industry has been talking the talk for a long time now. The time has come to start ‘walking the walk’. In fact the harsh reality is that we, as an industry, have moved down this path too slowly. But that needn’t continue to be the case. Carriers are in the position to demand a fundamental change in the way the industry operates. The time has come….
The time is NOW!
This is a good time to thank the hundreds that took the time to stop by the ECI booth, our sessions and the ‘Bridging the Gap’ Show. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting you. See you next year!