Digital transformation has been accelerating while the new technologies such as 5G, AI, big data, cloud etc. adopted globally. This definitely gives Communication Service Providers (CSPs) the opportunity to unblock at least $700 billion in new revenues from the verticals. As CSPs deploy 5G networks more widely the number of connected devices will increase from 13 billion to more than 30 billion by 2025 according to a survey report, and networks become more complex. If CSPs continue to use manual and labor-intensive methods to operate their networks and services, they will be unable to maintain competitiveness and provide high-quality service for their customers.
TM Forum Autonomous Networks
Recognizing these challenges, the TM Forum has been promoting the Autonomous Networks (AN) concept since 2019, providing a systematic approach to network automation for CSPs to simplify service deployment and deliver a Zero-X (Zero-wait, Zero-trouble and Zero-touch) experience for customers.
“Currently, China Mobile Beijing has over 20 million mobile users, over 70 million IoT users, and more than 3 million wired broadband users as well as over 6 million 5G users. These have brought great challenges to network O&M (operation and maintenance)for China Mobile Beijing, for which the Autonomous Networks aim to overcome,” stated Li Changkong, Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Beijing, in his presentation at “Digital Leadership Summit – Realize the Power of Autonomous Networks in Digital Transformation” hosted by TM Forum on 28th June 2022.
China Mobile’s AN Strategy
By following the China Mobile Group’s strategic objective of reaching Autonomous Networks Level 4 by 2025, China Mobile Beijing has specified the objectives of achieving L3 by 2022, L3.5 by 2023 and L4 by 2025, and identified the three-step path from automation to quasi-intelligence, and finally to full-intelligence:
- In 2022, focus on NMS (network management system) planning and capability aggregation;
- In 2023, focus on improved automatic O&M and AI promotion;
- In 2025, focus on enhanced intelligent O&M and open ecosystem operations. Implementing Autonomous Networks is a systematic project. To this end, China Mobile Beijing follows the Group’s “234 system” by referring to TM Forum’s AN architecture, which emphasizes two objectives, three closed loops, and the collaboration of four layers to build its own future-proof AN architecture.
While advancing Autonomous Networks to application, China Mobile Beijing actively carries out level evaluations based on the unified standards of AN levels developed by China Mobile Group, in which the maturity of AN is divided into six levels, from L0- L5. On top of the level evaluation system, China Mobile Beijing has built up the result-oriented effectiveness metrics system which can be used to evaluate the business benefits brought by AN.
With these two systems, China Mobile Beijing can effectively and iteratively evolve to high-level autonomy as a spiral model of “evaluate-improve-reevaluate”, driven by the dual-drive of “process + result”. “China Mobile Beijing completed two rounds of level evaluation in 2021, with the result exceeding our annual target and reached L3 in key scenarios,” said Li Changkong in his presentation.
China Mobile Beijing has achieved L3 in some scenarios, especially the experience improvement for mobile users, identification of poor-QoE (quality of experience) for home broadband services, and premium private lines for the 2B customer. That definitely benefits the customer.
By adopting AI speech recognition technology, China Mobile Beijing has improved the accuracy of user requirements identification which help to reduce the complaints by 80%. With the “1+2+N” poor-QoE standard system, which is, one objective, two leadings and N models for poor-QoE identification, China Mobile Beijing has increased the poor-QoE identification and demarcation accuracy to 90% and 95% respectively for the home broadband users. China Mobile Beijing has built the “NEST Premium Network” to provide a high-quality private line for enterprise and government customers.
With the intelligent control and management platform deployed for network operation, China Mobile Beijing will be able to activate network services in minutes and locate the faults in seconds. In the future, China Mobile Beijing will continue to collaborate with global industry partners to implement industry vision, carry out industry innovation and promote industry prosperity to achieve high-level Autonomous Networks to unblock the new growth from the verticals.