5G MNO Challenges

Recent Survey Finds Mobile Network Operators Struggling to Prepare for 5G

Adrian Jakobsson
Apr. 18 2019

Mobile Network Operator (MNO) customers are waiting for 5G to go live with great anticipation. But MNOs know all too well, the many challenges that are present in moving to 5G. After all, it’s a very demanding standard, that requires much higher data rates, extremely low latency, high reliability and security, that is far greater than fourth-generation LTE wireless technology.

The last thing MNOs want is to go to market with an incomplete view of their network, and without the appropriate tools enabling them to measure and optimize it.

A recent survey conducted by Infovista at MWC 2019 in Barcelona last February, discovered that these challenges are quite widespread. The survey polled 145 attendees from 22 countries, including MNOs, companies working with MNO’s, and enterprises looking to adopt 5G networks. The survey found that only 25 percent of MNOs are extremely prepared for 5G. The survey also found that even fewer vendors who work with MNOs (only 1 in 6) feel they are extremely prepared for 5G.

5G Brings Challenges for MNOs

The top concerns MNOs say they are facing include the following:

The biggest challenges MNOs say they are facing as they work to roll out their 5G networks include the following:

5G is Important to Enterprises

5G capabilities promise to make user lives easier, enhance business communications and expand IoT’s potential. Two thirds of enterprises surveyed, reported 5G is somewhat to extremely important to their future. The top applications reported for 5G include the following:

Once 5G arrives, 3 in 4 enterprises believe that it’s important for their MNO to fully support the 5G standard. MNO respondents understand the importance of delivering 5G services, with 4 of 5 reporting 5G is somewhat to extremely important to their future. In addition, MNO’s stated the top reasons for pursuing 5G include:

  • Addressing “over-the-top” issues:
  • Increasing market share
  • Adding new billable services

The results of the survey make it clear; MNOs need to have a comprehensive approach to 5G. If they can’t efficiently correlate data across all aspects of planning, testing, and optimization, they won’t capture an accurate picture of what’s happening on the network. And that will spell trouble.

Everyone is anxiously awaiting 5G. Launching ahead of the competition provides a first-to-market advantage, but only if the 5G network functions as promised. It’s critical for MNOs to make the right decisions for their 5G investment. They must focus on increasing efficiency across the board, and guarantee a continued quality user experience. Exploiting the huge potential of 5G to generate new revenue and new vertical markets, will help MNOs stay competitive, and build a strong future.

What Should You Do to Prepare?

For a 5G network to be successful, MNOs should consider taking the following steps:

  • Make the right decisions in 5G investments, including adopting data-driven processes
  • Focus on increasing efficiency across the board, to improve network agility
  • Guarantee an empowering customer experience, by leveraging network data and predictive methodologies
  • Exploit the huge potential of 5G to generate new revenue, and growth in new markets
  • 5G will demand more rigor, especially understanding where customers are in 3D, and how mmW and M-MIMO can perform. However, many current problematic network issues are due to investments being made based on inaccurate data and modeling. Specifically, inaccurate geodata or prediction models, that are not adapted to handle the increased complexity of 5G.
  • Though it’s an expensive option, model tuning improves accuracy, and therefore, reduces unnecessary investments in 5G RAN. But don’t assume it can’t be further improved. I recommend you check the effect of better maps, better models, and a final check that the network is built as planned.
  • Whenever possible, test any assumptions before you invest. Testing real propagation, and the real-world impact of buildings and vegetation should be done before any large-scale deployment.
  • The current policy of using average throughput and network utilization to influence investment decisions ought to be reviewed. There is very little correlation between averages and user experiences. It is more important to avoid serious outages, and instances where performance is noticeably poor, as many users prefer consistent performance.
  • 5G rollouts will rapidly change the competitive landscape. So, it’s important to understand what your competitors are planning. Unlike the current situation, it may not be possible to see this through crowdsource information, as this won’t show up until users change their devices.

Infovista is Here to Help

Infovista provides complete visibility and unprecedented control over modern networks, and their applications - including 5G. Our robust data and analytics, provide real-time insights to enable critical business decisions. We have a comprehensive line of solutions, from the radio network to the enterprise, and devices - throughout the lifecycle of a network. We have made it our business to provide comprehensive solutions for 5G, including:

  • Addressing the complete network lifecycle – With the industry’s only 5G portfolio that encompasses every stage of the network, from strategic planning to pre-validation, to post-launch testing, analysis, and optimization.
  • Getting a 360-degree view - with combined subscriber intelligence (geolocation data, call trace, crowdsourcing), with network performance and testing data, to maintain a complete picture of the customer experience.
  • Predicting network problems – using machine learning and predictive analytics, combined with the industry’s broadest data set and most extensive domain expertise, to quickly deploy and proactively optimize a 5G network.
  • Validating performance – to benchmark performance against competitors, previous network generations, and your own planning data to identify gaps, and verify that your network is delivering what you expect.
  • Maximizing 5G investments – by combining planning data, geodata, and other sources, to identify the optimal capital investment and capacity scenarios, and prioritize your 5G expansion based on revenue potential
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