The future holds some great opportunities for operators. With early 5G technologies just around the corner, customers are about to experience a whole new world of fast, latency-free access. The demand will be high, with subscribers already valuing internet quality more than voice or messaging quality, according to the latest Acquisition and Retention report from Nokia.
And who knows how the world will be changed by the Internet of Things when we have seven trillion connections a day by 2020.
Against a backdrop of declining ARPU and more demanding customers who are ready to churn if they don’t get what they want, such opportunities are a welcome target for operators. Yet how can they win new business?
Focus on the customer experience
One of the most direct ways to improve the performance of increasingly complex networks is through Network Planning and Optimization (NPO). This plays a critical role in maximizing an operator’s return on investment (RoI) and improving network quality for customers.
Although operators have their own in-house NPO expertise, new and fast-changing demand on networks mean that sometimes they need specialized support. Traditionally, NPO activities have been focused on improving network performance by focusing on KPIs, but in recent years an additional focus on the customer experience has come to the fore with Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) being used.
When evaluating what support they need from NPO vendors, what should operators look for? It goes without saying that third-party providers of NPO services should be reliable, focused on quality, trustworthy and flexible.
Yet there are other important characteristics to look for too. The supplier should be able to plan capacity down to the smallest levels, using techniques such as 3-D geolocation. They should also ideally provide solutions that focus not merely on the standard network KPIs, but also take into account how subscribers are experiencing the network and its services.
Analyst rates Nokia as a leader
Nokia’s NPO service meets all these criteria, with Nokia recently ranked by analyst firm Current Analysis as the overall market leader, ahead of the other major telecom providers. It is also rated as top for innovation, being the first to offer 3-D geolocation and applying advanced analytics and automation to network optimization.
The Current Analysis report says that: “Nokia’s network performance optimization (NPO) service development of the recent past, present, and future is predicated on its journey to transform the discipline from support of network performance to support of the customer experience.”
Nokia NPO services are now well placed to help operators with their market challenges. The acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent has brought a closer fixed/mobile convergence as well as IP networking expertise for both fronthaul and backhaul solutions.
Future NPO developments
The new Nokia AVA services delivery platform will enable future NPO services to become even more capable and can take advantage of the latest analytics, automation and virtualized delivery technologies. Nokia AVA ensures operators can take full advantage of the data available from their networks to move to a cognitive approach in which network degradations are predicted and changes are rapidly implemented through automation.
Machine learning is used to predict future network or service anomalies, enabling Nokia NPO experts to adjust the network performance in near-real-time to avoid issues arising.
Dennis Lorenzin, Nokia Vice President responsible for NPO services says: “We have worked hard to reach this position, one where we are trusted to help operators meet the challenges of Network Planning and Optimization. Our investment in geolocation marks us out as a leader in NPO, a company serious about offering the best optimization techniques.
“Yet, there is still so much more we can achieve. The future is an exciting one – with IoT, 5G and growing use of analytics and automation, there will be even more opportunities to help operators get their networks working as they should.”