Cisco says helping telcos in transforming network infrastructure for 5G rollout, Telecom News, ET Telecom


By Ashutosh Kumar

NEW DELHI: Telecom operators will need to flatten their networks, transform data centers, and provide cell provisioning and billing services to customers as they prepare to jump on the 5G bandwagon and the US-based company is presenting itself as a monetisation partner, a top Cisco executive said.

“In terms of how Cisco is positioning ourselves, we have technologies that are helping operators and multiple friends. But on top of that, we are truly presenting ourselves as a monetization partner… But in terms of the technology, I think there are three major transformations we believe that telcos need to undertake as they move into the 5G,” Cisco (Asia Pacific & Japan) president Sanjay Kaul at a virtual event said.

Network flattening, according to Kaul would comprise three steps–converging the core so that telcos have an ISP core and a gold plated core (MPLS core), followed by merging of IP and optical together at the middle aggregation layer, and lastly, getting the IP router at the base station layer.

“So when you have this architecture in place, you create an instant gratification because when the data gets produced, you have an ability to treat it right then,” Kaul added.

India’s largest telco Reliance Jio uses the IP at the base station level while Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has converged its aggregation layer.

Secondly, telcos would need to create data centers at the edge of the network which will enable them to collect data, cache it, apply security, and then extract the value out of it.

“In traditional networks, any small change from a service perspective is a six-month project in the telco because they need to fix the back end of OSS, BSS… Then you should give people cell provisioning, cell billing kind of environment. So these are the three largest changes that need to happen to the 5G,” he added.

“5G globally is ramping ahead quickly… We know that there are almost 2.2 billion connections expected by 2024, which will be 27% of the total telecom population. As of now, almost 140 operators have started providing 5G services. This is in about 59 countries, the initial use cases are out, it’s more about enhanced mobile broadband,” said Prashant Singhal, EY Emerging Markets TMT Sector Leader.

5G reserve prices, however, have been a point of contention between telecom companies and the government. Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been reiterating that the current reserve price of Rs 492 crore per MHz is “too high” to be financially viable.

“So if you’re serious about digitization and Digital India, I think the government needs to treat 5G networks like utility networks, like railroad or, or transport infrastructure,” added Kaul.


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