As operators’ networks become increasingly digitalised and ICT-centric, much of the focus is on reducing OpEx and enhancing efficiencies. For Sunrise and Huawei, though, which announced an extension of their contract on digital transformation last year, the adoption of ICT practices represents an opportunity to deliver the first-ever defect-free network, as Jayne Garfitt reports from Mobile World Congress

With faster time-to-market, reduced OpEx and increased efficiency among the most well-known benefits, the use of ICT technologies within mobile networks is a rapidly growing trend among operators. Deploying various vendors’ ICT-based solutions has become common practice for operators, with methods traditionally associated with ICT having seemingly cemented their place in the networks. But is there more to these technologies than the bottom line?

According to Sunrise, it is the quality of service which represents the biggest opportunity of all – and to ensure it takes advantage of this, the company has made perhaps one of the biggest commitments when it comes to digitally transforming its network. Last year, it announced an extension of its existing contract with Huawei, which saw the operator outsource all its IT operations to the ICT solutions provider.

Speaking at a press conference held at Mobile World Congress, Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee confirmed exactly what the two companies were setting out to achieve.

“We want to create a world where we have a defect free network,” he said. “If you ask someone how they find their current network provider, people think about the last defect they have had. Our objective is a defect-free world, first and foremost.”

Successful Start
As partners of around five years, Huawei is already extremely familiar with Sunrise’s network. According to Surnrise, since collaborating with Hauwei, the quality of its services has improved, with a number of benchmark companies confirming this.

“The pinnacle of the partnership was last year when a number of companies confirmed Sunrise has the best network in Switzerland and that would not have been possible if we had not had this strong strategic partnership,” added Swantee.

Following this success, Sunrise decided to outsource all its ICT operations to Huawei in a managed services deal. As part of the agreement, 31 Sunrise employees joined Huawei, with a guaranteed 12-month contract and “comparable” conditions in November. The deal covers all ICT “base services” from the operation of hardware up to the database level, while Sunrise has retained ICT strategy, project management and development capability in-house.

At Mobile World Congress, Sunrise’s CTO Elmar Grasser said the outsourcing represented the next stage of the operator’s digital transformation.

“In 2012, we started working with Huawei and developed a strategy,” he said. “We have made huge improvements in terms of the quality of our network and we are now on to the next stage of ICT operations where we are trying to realise more synergies.”

Achieving the objective
So, what does the next stage of ICT convergence look like? Under the contract, Huawei will supply solutions connected with communications technology networks, information technology infrastructure, field operations and spare parts management. The vendor will also provide an ICT Converged Operation solution to manage IT and CT networks through converged operation processes, resources and tools as Sunrise continues to execute its digital transformation.

Huawei outlined its ICT Managed Services solution as including mobile network operations, fixed network operations, network functions virtualization operations, ICT operations and enterprise cloud. The company added that the success of the project would be measured by technical KPIs with a very clear business purpose.

Grasser concluded: “We believe in evolution and believe we have a responsibility as a local operator – we want to focus on a defect-free network and at same time we are looking ahead to prepare our network for what is to come. The outsourcing has increased our focus on the infrastructure which is crucial to achieving this.”


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