The Value Plane has the potential to unleash the real value of 5G for CSPs

the value plane
Image by peshkov | Bigstockphoto

The Value Plane, an approach and functionality conceived and promoted by Openet, an Amdocs company, could well hold the key to enabling Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to realise value, and therefore significant revenue, from 5G.

Presented in a comprehensive White Paper, written by research house Strategy Analytics, examples of how the Value Plane makes this not only possible but also logical and intuitive, and suddenly makes a lot of sense for CSPs.

Based on the history of telecoms over the last 20 to 30 years, 5G was next in line to become the CSP’s Achilles’ Heel, luring them into the familiar trap of becoming ‘bit pipes,’ this time, ‘bit pipes to the Cloud.’

The strategy described in the White Paper centres around a Value Plane where value is delivered through partnerships with entities that, on the face of it, might look like fierce competitors.

The Hyperscale Cloud Providers (HCPs)

HCPs indeed have the strongest relationships with Enterprises and their high value IT applications. It is also true that they provide hybrid or multi-cloud access.

Yet HCPs have their own worries and weaknesses, and it is from these, an unlikely but potentially highly fruitful relationship can emerge.

Essentially, it is the value of a marriage between the strengths of the network and the cloud and its providers.

The three things that worry HCPs the most are network security (48% of respondents), followed by operational monitoring (and troubleshooting) and application delivery services.

This is where Standalone 5G and CSPs come in, enabling them to build ‘business bridges’ with enterprises, partners and ecosystems for real, long-term benefit.

As the Openet White Paper says, ‘for the first time in the history of telecoms, 5G Standalone (SA) cloud native service platforms make it possible for CSPs to ‘platformise’ internal CSP Network Functions (NFs) and provide secure trusted access to 3rd party Cloud Hosted or private Enterprise Apps.’

This means that CSPs can now be in a position to deliver something that has been talked about for several years. They now have the functionality to securely open up their platforms to allow Enterprises and HCPs the ability to safely modify their services via the Network Exposure Function (NEF) and capture and leverage their own analytics and data via the Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF). This ability will allow services (and quality assurance) to be enabled within minutes, not weeks or months.

This functionality – the Control Plane – has the potential, finally, to deliver monetisable customer value. As the White Paper says, these services ‘will likely be very ‘sticky’ as they become embedded in Enterprise and HCP solutions and grow in value as part of those customers’ digital transformation.’

The good news for CSPs and 5G has been patchy for the last few months. Even the initial enthusiasm for private 5G wore off as it looked as if Enterprises themselves would design and build their own, having an intimate knowledge of how their businesses work.

Many CSPs have been waiting for Standalone 5G, knowing that its potential is that much greater than the initial rollouts earlier this year.

The Value Plane provides a step forward in enabling CSPs to realise a significant amount of value through partnerships that, on the face of it, are not necessarily obvious  – but make a lot of sense.

Recently, the outlook for telecoms, in general, is improving, showing surprising double-digit growth for the first time in a long time, against a backdrop of significant CAPEX spending. This bodes well, and if CSPs can actively engage with the Value Plane, partnering with HCPs to provide the security, application delivery and monitoring that are their weak spots, it will prove an increasingly valuable, long-term partnership.

The White Paper from Openet (available free here) is insightful, practical and provides solid ideas for CSPs to create real value from 5G applications.

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