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The future of our industry: A collaborative and sustainable way of doing business

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Mobile World Congress has kicked off once again and it’s a really great opportunity to get a glimpse of the future technologies that the industry is betting on.

One of the key topics that everyone will talk about is 5G Cloud RAN. Our customers also want to hear about the monetization opportunities of 5G Standalone, especially in the enterprise domain, and how to build the path to 5G-Advanced and beyond.

But let me start with one of the most pressing concerns for our customers: the energy efficiency of their networks.

Improving network energy efficiency requires pulling all possible levers

Reducing the power consumption of networks is a must from the environmental perspective and it also makes commercial sense as energy prices and capacity demand continue to soar.

The fact is that improving energy efficiency requires pulling all possible levers, and Nokia is certainly doing just that. I’m very proud of the constant advances that we have achieved in enhancing the energy efficiency of our product portfolio and the future energy-saving capabilities that we are building today.

For example, our power amplifier architectures and technologies, as well as the antenna efficiency, will help significantly reduce energy consumption during low traffic load, which is one of the key focus areas for our customers. We have also expedited the development of Deep Sleep and Extreme Deep Sleep features that reduce power consumption when carriers are switched off. In fact, in a collaboration project with Orange, we estimated that the Extreme Deep Sleep solution can reduce radio unit consumption by a factor of eight.

In addition, we have MantaRay SON, an industry-leading AI/ML-based solution for automating the configuration of energy-saving software features while ensuring that the energy optimizations performed with AI/ML have no impact on throughput and other key KPIs.

In Barcelona, you will see over 20 new features that help minimize the power consumption of our products when they are used in our customers’ networks.

Our new Virtual Power Plant Controller Software is an innovative solution that helps operators monetize the energy stored in their radio network backup batteries and contribute to the stability of the electricity grid. This system also supports renewable solar energy production. We have completed several trials with customers and are making Virtual Power Plant commercially available in 2024.

Our innovations also include the Zero traffic, zero energy radio site solution, which aligns energy consumption tightly with traffic demand. Another interesting use case we will talk about is the Baseband Hotel, which has a high heat load. When built with our liquid-cooled AirScale baseband, it has up to 90 percent lower cooling system energy consumption compared to active air cooling.

Making Cloud RAN a commercial reality with strategic partners

Next, let me turn to Cloud RAN. We are now transitioning from Cloud RAN proofs-of-concept and trials to a tangible commercial reality, marking a pivotal evolution for our industry. At Nokia, we believe that to make Cloud RAN a success, an open and collaborative model is a must. In fact, we just introduced our new anyRAN for enterprise framework, which extends our extensive strategic collaboration to cloud core providers, including Cisco, HPE and Microsoft.

We also announced our Cloud RAN collaboration with NVIDIA, which represents a major step towards transforming the future of radio networks with artificial intelligence. In Cloud RAN, we will leverage the power of NVIDIA's CPUs for L2+ processing and our In-Line accelerator technology for L1 acceleration. We will also use NVIDIA GPUs for AI applications.

One of the stand-out features of Cloud RAN is its adaptability to run on standard hardware and use existing operational processes. This makes Cloud RAN an ideal fit for enterprises. Mobile network operators can offer private wireless networks for enterprises and industries with flexible business models. Cloud RAN can scale resources based on demand, enabling the efficient management of workloads and sharing of resources dynamically across different applications.

As demonstrated in many trials with our customers and partners, with the Nokia anyRAN approach we can provide our customers with the widest choice of strategic options for the evolution of their radio networks. And we can provide a faster path to feature and performance consistency in a hybrid environment consisting of Cloud RAN and purpose-built RAN than any competitor.

Our Cloud RAN solution is a commercial reality in 2024. It’s a future-proof solution that provides the flexibility to best fit the cloud strategy of any customer.

Capturing the emerging opportunities with 5G RedCap, 5G-Advanced and Edge Slicing

One of the key technologies coming to the spotlight this year is 5G RedCap, or Reduced Capability – practically, the IoT solution for 5G that can replace the LTE Cat 4 ecosystem. RedCap enables new use cases that require low or medium data rates by extending the 5G ecosystem with potentially billions of compact enterprise and consumer devices such as sensors, wearables and health trackers. We have already proven that our 5G Standalone technology is ready for RedCap in several trials with customers and partners.

Another area that our industry is following closely is the evolution to 5G-Advanced and the emerging extended reality (XR) market it enables. There has been a lot of talk about the Metaverse, but the device ecosystem and the services are not fully developed today. At MWC, we will be showcasing a 5G-Advanced demo that can help operators understand how they can monetize XR at scale and what they need to do to have full confidence that their network capacity will meet the requirements of XR services.

We will also have an exciting demo of Multi-Access Edge Slicing and 5G Network Slicing technologies in a live network with enterprise and consumer applications, which we are showcasing together with etisalat by e&. The beauty of this solution is that it ensures a unified multi-slice service experience across all access technologies, be it mobile, fixed wireless access or fixed access.

Edge computing has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of enterprises looking to enhance their productivity. In addition, it provides high data rates and low latency at the network edge, which creates new consumer business opportunities such as purchasing and activating on-demand slices for advanced entertainment and gaming services.

I hope that many of you will have a chance to visit our MWC booth 3A20 in Barcelona this year. I’m looking forward to having insightful conversations about the future of our industry!

More information:

White Paper: Radio Access Network energy efficiency

White Paper: Nokia Open RAN Industry and Solution Update

Tommi Uitto

About Tommi Uitto

Tommi is the President of Mobile Networks at Nokia and also serves as the Country Senior Officer of Nokia Finland. He joined the company in 1996, dividing his over 25 years between senior roles in sales, product management and R&D. He’s a passionate, charismatic leader, who loves winning deals and seeing customers thrive. Tommi has an M.Sc. from Helsinki University of Technology and Michigan Technological University. He is a keen wine collector and is often to be seen showcasing his impressive skills on the barbecue.

Connect with Tommi on LinkedIn
Tweet me at @tommiuitto

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