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5G success will rely on operators’ cultural change

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Mark Newman

Chief Analyst, TM Forum

The telecoms industry has been heavily focused on digital transformation for some time now. Operators and telecoms vendors around the world are overhauling their systems and preparing for the next wireless generation: 5G.

With 5G will come more connected devices, and as a result, more data. This data deluge will be overwhelming for operators trying to manage devices, assure network performance and maintain subscriber experience.

Operators will therefore need to adopt new ways of working to handle the changes brought about by 5G.

Operators prepare for 5G

This will see operators implement DevOps practices, deploy AI and machine learning across their networks, and generally move away from outdated, legacy network practices.

Implementing these new practices is no easy feat – operators have worked one way for years and so change will take time.

To be successful, operators will need to think carefully about how they organise their teams – working practices such as DevOps encourage the coming together of business and technical teams to prevent employees from working in silos.

This will be critical for operators to adopt agile software practices and to ultimately improve the speed and reduce the cost of service delivery.

Skills needed for 5G transformation

In a 5G world, where reaching 5G ROI will be operators’ version of nirvana, having the right tools and skills in place to maximise productivity and efficiency, while reducing cost and delivering new services will be key.

Indeed, skills will play an important part of operators’ cultural transformation. 5G services of tomorrow will require data scientists, developers, and machine learning experts, roles that have typically been associated with web-scale companies.

If operators do not place significant emphasis on recruiting for these roles, they’ll struggle to deliver the 5G service that consumers and enterprises expect.

Cultural change just isn’t an option for operators, especially as we prepare for 5G.

It’s an absolute must, and while progress may be slow, operators must stay focused in trying to make the change that will ultimately underpin their 5G success.

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