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What is Telecom SaaS and how does it work?

Telecom SaaS is a service delivering a business outcome that is bought as a subscription and based on cloud-native software. It’s delivered with a fully digitalized business experience and a fully automated services lifecycle, that is designed for any carrier-grade network. Simply put, with the SaaS model, CSPs are provided access to the software they need instead of buying it outright, typically through a usage-based subscription purchased on a monthly or yearly basis.

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What are the benefits of Telecom SaaS

Telecom SaaS is about improving value and reducing complexity by providing software that is always the latest version and consumed purely on demand through a subscription, eliminating large up front capital expenditure; by freeing CSPs of the burden of putting their networks through software maintenance and updates; and, by accelerating CSPs’ ability to launch new services faster and see “time to value” quicker.   


Faster time to value:

  • Enables rapid customer adoption and use of service by reducing the time spent on software installation and configuration
  • Provides outcome-based solutions and services, increasing the value proposition of the service
  • Facilitates ecosystem partners and customers in co-creation of value

Improved financial performance:

  • Permits automated scaling and on-demand resource availability, according to customer need
  • Provides swift service provisioning, often within minutes or hours
  • Enables customers to remain up-to-date with frequent and efficient delivery of software patches and upgrades

Greater business agility:

  • Requires limited upfront investment and no additional hardware or physical space
  • Eliminates financial risk related to software maintenance and upgrades
  • Provides improved cost management, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and compelling economies of scale
  • Lowers entry barriers to market evaluation

The CSP journey to SaaS : watch the event

Why is SaaS important now?

What is Telecom SaaS?

What is Telecom SaaS? The definition. How is Telecom SaaS different from IT SaaS?

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Why now?

Why is Telecom SaaS important to CSPs right now? We started with NFV and cloud native software - building blocks of SaaS.

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Transition to SaaS

What are some aspects of operating the network as it transitions to SaaS? BSS, Order-to-cash, Analytics, Security are moving to SaaS.

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"The economic case for Telecom SaaS" event now available on-demand

Join Justin van der Lande, Research Director, Analysys Mason, and Hamdy Farid, Vice-president Business Applications, Nokia, for an insider’s conversation with TelecomTV's Guy Daniels.

This event is available on-demand. Topics covered:

  • How telecom SaaS differs from a cloud or virtualized and a traditional business model
  • What to consider when planning a business case for SaaS
  • The economic benefits of SaaS over other alternatives
  • When and how to start the journey to SaaS

View on-demand

SaaS live panel discussion

The economic case for Telecom SaaS

Is SaaS the same as cloud?

At a high level, SaaS is a type of cloud service model. SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments (which are managed by a dedicated cloud vendor) and are often integrated with other software offerings from the same SaaS solution provider. Well-designed SaaS architecture must be able to scale and accommodate hundreds or even thousands of users who will be accessing the software simultaneously over the cloud or the web.

Compared with the traditional approach of installing and maintaining software on-premises, with the SaaS model telecom companies don't have to worry about adding another server on which to run the software. The SaaS provider takes care of all server capacity planning. Telecom companies only need to enable a new SaaS offering — and they get the flexibility to scale their SaaS use up and down based on specific needs.

In addition, because the software is delivered over cloud-based architecture, telecom companies do not need to download upgrades or reinstall new versions of a product. Any updates or patches to a service are handled by the SaaS provider.


The Rapidly Evolving 5G+ Landscape

Advantages of adopting SaaS

Although it may be a departure from the conventional method of purchasing software, the SaaS model — and the cloud-native capabilities at its heart — can provide huge business advantages for communications service providers (CSPs).

By adopting the SaaS business model, CSPs providers have the opportunity to leave behind their traditional way of buying software. By shifting away from an approach focused on upfront capital expenditures (CAPEX) to one that favors on-demand, as-needed access to cloud-native SaaS applications, CSPs benefit from greater flexibility, cost control and the agility to roll out new offerings quickly to meet evolving customer demands.

The CSP demand to improve Time-to-Value for software it uses to manage its business, IT and network will only continue to grow. At the same time, the expectation for lower Total Cost of Ownership will also continue. SaaS provides the right combination of rapid Time-to-Value with on-demand access for mature SaaS applications and low TCO with pay-as-you-grow commercial models. Now, more than before, the technology is available for CSPs to realize this Time-to-Value and Total Cost of Ownership balance.

Disaggregation set the stage for software to be completely managed by the SaaS vendor, improving the Time-to-Value and lowering the Total Cost of Ownership for users of SaaS. CSPs may still depend on location-centric hardware for communications services, but the related software is reaching a state where it can be hosted anywhere.


The Six Principles of the SaaS Universe - Episode 5

How Nokia helps secure and deliver SaaS at scale

To fully seize the 5G opportunity, CSPs need to shorten Time-to-Value for software they use to manage their business, IT and network. At the same time, the expectation to achieve lower Total Cost of Ownership will continue.    

SaaS provides the right combination of rapid Time-to-Value with on-demand access to mature SaaS applications and low TCO. CSPs can achieve this with pay-as-you-go / pay-as-you-grow commercial models.    

To drive that shift, Nokia’s approach to Telco SaaS for CSPs is about providing software that is always the latest version and hosted in any cloud environment.  

As we introduce SaaS services in a simplified delivery model, Nokia expects to combine these independent services into three high-value SaaS “suites” focused on Digital Engagement, Marketplaces and Networking.

  • Digital engagement: To help CSPs secure, predict, orchestrate, automate and monetize 5G operations.
  • Digital marketplace: To enable new vertical solutions and use cases.  
  • Digital networking: To provide dynamic digital infrastructure through 5G network components delivered as SaaS.  

As our SaaS roadmap evolves, we’ll deliver essential telco capabilities through open-source application programming interfaces (APIs) that are operable across many hyperscale platforms. This will create a multi-vendor SaaS delivery framework that makes the most of our partnerships with leading cloud providers and our ongoing investments in cloud-native software and technologies.


Telecom SaaS: Empowering you to innovate at scale

Ready to find out more about SaaS?

Nokia Telecom SaaS Solutions


Nokia Data Marketplace

The Nokia Data Marketplace (NDM) provides a platform on which business entities (enterprises or CSPs) can securely exchange data with other participants in that ecosystem. They can buy and sell data as all businesses need relevant data for digital transformation and business growth strategies. NDM is provided in a subscription based SaaS model and is powered by private permissioned blockchain for ensuring security and integrity of the data exchanged. It supports smart contracts between partners for making data monetization automated and in real-time. NDM also supports federated learning for orchestrating AI/ML algorithms across distributed datasets without moving data from one place to another. Nokia Data Marketplace unlocks multiple use-cases across industry verticals including supply chain, transportation, healthcare, telecom, smart cities, governmental agencies, etc.

AVA Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF)  

The Nokia AVA NWDAF is a new network function that collects data from 5G Core network functions, performs network analytics and provides insights with closed loop automation to authorized data consumers. These include external users taking advantage of open APIs to help generate greater innovation and unlock new value. Nokia’s distributed NWDAF architecture makes analytics available where needed to meet the varying latency requirements of 5G use cases. Nokia AVA NWDAF complies with 3GPP specifications for the 5G Standalone Core and offers unique and valuable propositions beyond the standards. Nokia AVA NWDAF is cloud-native, multi-vendor capable and probe less solution, making it easy to collect and analyze data from networks and services. It is part of the Nokia AVA analytics and AI product range, offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery and consumption models to quickly deploy new applications in an agile manner.

Nokia NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome

With 5G opening many new cybersecurity risks due to more access points in networks, CSPs require automated security that greatly shrinks threat dwell time (the time it takes to remove a cyberattacker once detected); reduces manual tasks; and shortens response time in order to keep 5G consumer and enterprise services safe. In addition to delivering those benefits, Nokia’s new NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome, delivered as SaaS, to be commercially available in early 2022, enables CSPs to monetize security tied with services like 5G slicing.

Nokia iSIM Secure Connect

As opposed to classic SIMs, embedded SIM (eSIM) and integrated SIM (iSIM) technologies can store and manage multiple subscription profiles remotely for authenticating users and devices on mobile networks. iSIM Secure Connect gives control to automate the entire eSIM/iSIM management process and will open opportunities to monetize services linked to trusted digital identities. Nokia’s iSIM Secure Connect, through a SaaS delivery model, enables CSPs and enterprises to securely manage machine-to-machine and consumer device subscriptions for eSIM- and iSIM-enabled devices.

It’s a 5G Core Network, but not as we know it

It’s a 5G Core Network, but not as we know it


Blockchain-based monetization of health data enabled by Nokia Data Marketplace, delivered as-a-Service

Home Device Manager

The efficient management of home devices is critical to the success of many Communications Service Providers (CSPs). This includes a variety of devices from gateway routers, Wi-Fi extenders and mesh nodes to video set top boxes, voice over IP access devices, 4G/5G fixed wireless access devices, and small cell devices. Nokia Home Device Manager is designed with the capability of managing these home broadband access devices. Home Device Manager offers a flexible migration path to optimize connectivity, networks and operations to support emerging technologies and evolving needs. With our solution, you can grow capabilities, ease deployments of broadband access service, Wi-Fi extenders, mesh nodes, and access IoT opportunities in various markets and applications.

Anomaly Detection

Nokia is introducing a new machine learning (ML) algorithm for mobile networks to detect and correct anomalies before they impact customers. Based on Nokia Bell Labs technology, the Anomaly Detection Service autonomously detects if a mobile cell area is showing out of the ordinary behavior which, if allowed to go undetected for an extended period, could impact the quality of service to customers. It allows CSPs’ engineers to address issues faster such as congestion at a mobile site, interference, unexpected latency, difficulty in handing calls between different cells or call setup failures.

AVA for Energy

CSPs are under pressure from customers, regulators and governments to take climate action. Conserving energy is no longer lip service: it’s a business imperative. AI-based energy management automation has proven itself to be the fast track to shrinking the carbon footprint of telco networks. It can reduce energy costs and carbon footprint by 30% with no negative impact on performance or end customer experience.

Nokia AVA for Energy Efficiency can predict low traffic periods and shut down resources such as frequency carriers or even whole sites dynamically. We have seen that AI-based solutions achieve two to five times more savings than non-AI systems that perform temporary shutdowns based on fixed schedules. As a total-site, software-based solution, an AI system can be set up quickly to minimize all kinds of energy waste. It requires no large-scale deployments, network modernization or architecture re-design, and has no hardware impact.

What customers and industry analysts say about Nokia SaaS

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