Extreme automation will be integral to the successful deployment of next generation networks, according to the Finnish tech giant

Mobile network operators must be prepared to radically change the work processes that govern their cost structures, if they are to capitalise on the commercial potential of 5G, according to a senior executive at Nokia.

Speaking exclusively to Total Telecom, Nokia’s president for Global Services, Sanjay Goel, said that while 5G represented a terrific opportunity, many operators were unsure how to secure sufficient return on their 5G investments.

Goel called on operators to work sharpen their focus on network automation and to fully realise the transformative potential of technology.  

“Extreme automation is the biggest underlying differentiator for the future. My belief is that the way we deliver service deliveries today and service capabilities build out will have to radically change to address cost, quality and agility. That’s where we are creating a digital architecture.     

“For operators, the biggest cost in EBIDTA will be building of networks for 5G. If you have the same cost structure as today, you will not get it out the door. Our ambition is to radically cut the cost of deployment through automation. It’s about lowering the cost of the field in terms of the number of site visits that are required. Can we build out a radio site in one physical visit? That is our ambition and our desire because today it takes multiple site visits to get a radio base station up. 

The rollout of 5G represents a huge opportunity for Nokia, and Goel was keen to stress that Nokia was very much on the front foot in terms of 5G readiness.

“5G is a terrific opportunity for us. We have now signed 22 commercial deals and have over 100 5G related engagements (proof of concepts or customer trials) with our partners around the world.

“The first mover on 5G will be Korea, and we are present with all three operators there. They are lining up their 5G launches for Q2 2019,” he said.  

“Then we have 5 deals in North America with all the big players there. We’ve also got some traction in the Nordic countries – The Nordics have always been a little bit ahead of the rest, so we’ll see how things play out there. We even signed a deal at MWC19 with Saudi Telecom, to assist with 5G rollout plans in the Middle East, he added”.

Goel believes that spectrum allocation will continue to be an issue in 2019, particularly for operators in Europe, as regulators drag their feet on 5G spectrum auctions.

“There is a lot of traction building up and to be honest, its coming a little bit faster than we thought it would a couple of years ago. But it all depends on the spectrum – operators and regulators need to sort that out. I think in Europe you will see a lot of debate over what spectrum should come in, the mid-band or low-band spectrums.

“If you look in the US with T-Mobile and Sprint coming together, that gives them a huge range of spectrum to choose from – 3.5Ghz, all the way through to the mmWave spectrum. That’s a huge advantage for them.

“One of the main priorities for operators will be to cut the cost per Gb of throughput. The spectral efficiency is, and will be, better [than previous generations],” he concluded.


You can read the full interview with Sanjay Goel, exclusively on Total Telecom from next week.