On September 20, 2023, TM Forum, organized the Autonomous Networks Summit 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Esteemed industry leaders, world-leading communications service providers, and suppliers convened to share their insights and perspectives. Director Autonomous Networks, Telefónica, Juan Manuel Caro attended the conference and delivered a keynote speech titled “Accelerating Telefónica Network Autonomy”.

The director said:”1) Agility, Intelligence, Efficiency, Quality, Sustainability are a set of Program Foundational Drivers guiding us in our Transformation journey, Focusing on single autonomous use cases first and AI, then progressing to more complex, cross-domain use cases; 2) Defining an automation architecture (Network Brain Heart and ways of working) and hierarchy based in AI algorithms embedded in every layer; 3) Established executive committee with our CTIO and we committed a 3-year plan with KPI based on autonomous network, autonomy, sustainability goals and quality goals.”

Telefónica Autonomous Network Journey (ANJ)

Telefónica launched a program called Autonomous Network Journey (ANJ) in 2021. The goal is to strive for AN management not only from the point of view of increasing autonomy, but also considering the required management of data, architecture and enablers, plus an organizational structure and reskilled staff. This must be done without forgetting basic points such as security and sustainability. In order to be able to monitor the level of automation and intelligence, a methodology for calculating the percentage of automation and the level of autonomy has been defined (based on TM Forum’s ANL methodology).

Telefónica is applying this program in all its operating companies in Europe and HispAm. In addition, Telefónica actively participates in the definition of standards, development of use cases, and collaboration with the main standards-development organizations (SDOs) such as TM Forum, ETSI, GSMA, 3GPP and ITU-T.

Telefónica’s ANL practice

Telefónica has adapted the recommendations of the leading SDOs regarding ANL to the individual characteristics of its network and implemented a methodology to obtain the overall value of the ANL. The scale of Telefónica is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Telefónica’s ANL scale

The scale is used as the foundation for a questionnaire that, when applied to each of the processes defined within the evaluated domains, calculates a final score from 0 to 5. This score provides the autonomy level of the operator. This questionnaire is divided into the five stages of the closed loop – awareness, analysis, decision, execution and intents. Within each stage, there are generic tasks that address the level of automation and others that address the level and type of intelligence applied.

With all these concepts, it is possible to have a questionnaire defined by 13 questions, with answers weighted by a system of values for each one of the processes of the evaluated domains. This approach allows Telefónica to determine the final score while providing traceability to delve into the processes of each domain.

 AN innovations and reference solutions

Vivo Config: Telefonica Brazil autonomous configuration system

In response to the challenges posed by the expansion of its 5G network, Telefónica Brazil has implemented an automation solution that simplifies and streamlines the integration, configuration and provisioning of the network transport and mobile access layers. A key differentiator of this solution was the centralization of data from all areas involved, enabling assertiveness in the configuration and customized access for each area. The program has resulted in impressive outcomes, including:

  • Savings of more than 42,000 hours of work (equivalent to 5,900 workdays)
  • An estimated 25% reduction in network alarms and 30% reduction in rework

 Telefónica’s plan for energy efficiency promotion and emissions reduction

Telefónica has carried out two important comparative studies of electricity consumption in its networks. The first compared consumption per copper network customer vs. the fiber network, showing that fiber is 85% more efficient in terms of consumption per user. The second one was carried out in the mobile network, comparing the consumption of the 4G network vs. the 5G network, which demonstrated that 5G technology is up to 90% more efficient than 4G in terms of power consumption per unit of traffic (W/Mbps). Efforts to increase sustainability have resulted in significant savings:

  • Telefónica has implemented 1,569 projects that have generated savings of more than €1.71 million ($1.87 million) and 10,428 GWh, avoiding the equivalent of 3,352,312 tons of CO2.
  • Energy and electricity consumption have been reduced by 7.2% and 5.9%, respectively, despite a 7.4X increase in network traffic.