Voice managed services for private LTE and 5G networks - a new opportunity for MNOs
Private networks are set to boom but not every RAN user will build their own infrastructure. MNOs need to address this opportunity and they need to offer not only specialised RAN performance, they also need to add value with differentiated managed voice services, accessible to users inside a private network, as well as when users move to public domains.
Private radio networks for campuses, factories and enterprises have become one of the most talked about subjects in the evolution to 5G. The notion that individual companies and organisations may build and operator their own mobile networks, using spectrum reserved for local use, has caught the attention of many. Such networks will serve very specific needs and use cases, varying widely across different industry verticals.
Of course, this raises the question of who will build them. Some large multi-national corporations have already stated that they plan to do so, such as Siemens and Bosch. Others, such as Deutsche Messe, the organisation responsible for trade fairs at the famous Hannover Messe site, have also committed to deploying their own infrastructure.
However, while it’s expected that there may be many thousands of such public networks, it’s extremely unlikely that all companies that desire them will actually deploy and manage them directly. So who will? Well, as Ovum’s Camille Mendler has pointed out, it’s a huge opportunity – but one that has not traditionally grabbed the attention of mobile operators.
But with the shift to wireless, on public spectrum, MNOs should think again. That’s because they already have the skills to build and run these networks and, with more challenging requirements and diverse service needs, there’s an interesting opportunity taking shape.
Each private network may have different service needs, but could be based on the same core architecture and infrastructure. What’s needed is a RAN, plus a core to manage service delivery and QoS performance. It’s a mini – and, for now at least – self-contained version of today’s 4- and 5G mobile networks. MNOs are well-placed to provide these. And, while many such networks will need Edge computing to deliver the latency and performance demanded, other core services can easily be offered from the existing MNO cloud.
The only difference is that, instead of enabling, say, multiple MVNOs from an MVNE platform, the MNO will enable multiple private RANs. In addition to the specialist local performance, this will also need flexible core service platforms. MNOs will need to be able to deliver core voice services, as well as more specialised RAN performance – but as a managed service offer.
This is where Gintel can help. Using our voice service framework and platform, MNOs can offer a wide range of different core services to each private network client, securely and scalably from their cloud environments. Such services can augment the specialist capabilities enabled in each RAN but have the added benefit of being accessible to users when they re-join a public network.
Scenarios already under consideration include remote platforms at sea, such as an oil rig. Users on the rig are in the private RAN and may use a secure corporate voice mobile VPN, but when they move to the shore, they join the public network. Specialised capabilities are delivered locally, but the core voice and mobile VPN services are shared between public and private network access. Other use cases are emerging all the time.
MNOs need to capitalise on new demand for private networks, but they need to think about more than the specific service required. They need to provide a complete managed service offer, including classical services such as voice, that will generate more value and help them to capitalise on what Mendler suggests is a $50 billion a year opportunity.
That will go a long way to help pay for 5G investments and to generate real, sustained returns that are required – but which are not expected to come from consumer customers. So, if you’re looking at private networking as an opportunity, talk to Gintel to find out how managed voice services can be offered, with the required differentiation, scalably to new RAN tenants.