Policy control and the long road towards 5G

Written by on March 22, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

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With just weeks before Informa’s annual Policy Control conference, it seemed like a good idea to catch up with some of the speakers to see what they want to discuss at the event. Policy is, of course, at the heart of the digital discussion for the next few years, and one speaker, Shira Levine, believes it is critical for the monetisation of services.

Levine, previously an industry analyst with IDC and more recently with IHT Markit, is now Director of Product Management with real-time specialist Openet. A key development that Levine sees is the ability to identify network traffic. A conference such as this now has to cover a wide range of elements, from SDN to NFV and, of course, the road to 5G. In Levine’s view, however, the road to 5G is a long one.

Policy, believes Levine, and the ability to decouple the decision functionality from the network means that the potential is there for operators to innovate. She is, however, not convinced that the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality has completely disappeared from operators’ thinking. ‘There is still a tendency to say ‘we want X’ without really matching that requirement with their goals’.

The same applied to IMS. Years ago, IMS was the buzzword of the day, and was even in most operators’ strategic plans. The problem was that no-one really knew why. Voice over LTE finally brought IMS into focus.

Whilst the transition between 3G and 4G has been reasonably straightforward, 5G, when it comes will be a revolution, and as such ‘use cases for 5G will be much more collaborative than before’. Certainly some use cases are already being written. Autonomous vehicles is one clear example, where the quality of data is vital for success.

‘It’s not so much about bandwidth but more about Quality of Service (QoS)’ says Levine. ‘In fact, one thing that has not been discussed in 5G is revenue assurance. It will be vital and has to incredibly responsive. Imagine if you are offering cloud based services and have a data centre footprint agreement with the Government. You will need to spin network resources up and down very fast. How will you know if you are breaking the agreement?’

There is clearly much to be discussed between now and the widespread adoption of 5G, and much will be discussed at the forthcoming Policy Control conference.

At the top of Shira Levine’s agenda, though, will be monetisation of services and revenue assurance.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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