Optimising legacy services for 5G growth

Optimising legacy services for 5G growth

Operators need to reduce costs while moving to full 5G, which means eliminating service siloes. Converging service assets into a single framework not only reduces operational costs, it also provides a platform for future service evolution and ensures cross-network compatibility.

5G rollout is gathering pace and, while coverage is far from complete, subscriber numbers are growing. The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report suggested that there were around 13 million 5G subscribers by the end of 2019 – which the same source predicts will rise to more than 2.6 billion in 2025. That’s stellar growth – and, while it’s potentially good news for operators that are seeking quick returns from their 5G investments, it also raises challenges.

That’s because most operators are building 5G alongside existing networks. As a result, many have to support multiple generations of network technology, from 2G all the way to 5G. While many services are limited by the access network, many core services have to be delivered to users irrespective of the network to which they are connected. Not only does this increase costs, it also increases interworking complexity.

As a recent report by analyst firm Juniper Research notes, operators must ensure backwards compatibility and seamless service interworking. However, it’s not just backwards compatibility for new services, it’s also forwards compatibility for services from legacy networks.

This topic will be familiar to many who encountered this problem during the first wave of IMS deployments. A number of innovations helped to solve the problem, with specialised gateways being developed to interwork between different generations of signalling technology. Today, we need to think about how to do this once again.

It’s important, because while many customers are focused on the new things they can do with their 5G devices, they still need to be able to use services such as voicemail and messaging, while operators need to be able to offer number translation and emergency services to their customers. These can’t simply be ignored in the new world.

One answer is to anchor services in the IMS domain and to connect resources from the IMS when required from 5G users. However, with 5G also likely to adopt its own voice service, this approach may not be sufficient for the future. Moreover, many operators are already struggling with a diverse infrastructure of service siloes that consume costs.

So, what’s certain is that operators need to plan ahead and to consider how such services can be migrated from legacy platforms and consolidated into a single architecture that will reduce operational costs while providing a platform for future service evolution as 5G matures.

That’s exactly what we’re doing. At Gintel, we’re helping operators consolidate their service estate into a single, core service delivery framework that allows them to offer number translation, B2B voice, media processing and emergency service capabilities across all their networks. It reduces costs and allows for future evolution from a common, unified platform.

So, with 5G set to surge, it’s time to reduce legacy costs while building for the future. Why not talk to our team to find out how we can help you consolidate and converge service siloes and provide the core service platform for future growth?

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