Spotlight on Tech

Mobile network operators’ new industrialization revolution

Geoff Hollingworth
Chief Marketing Officer
Rakuten Symphony
June 6, 2023
minute read

The industrialization revolution started 15 years ago – at least it did for some of the largest internet companies in the world.

These industry leaders sought out a more efficient way to manage their growing computing and networking infrastructures as profitability and scalability became a tipping point.

What they implemented became popularized in public cloud circles as the industrialization cycle. The first task was to standardize the infrastructure. Gone were the days of affectionately naming each server in the data center and along came standardization. This meant adopting a structured naming system as the starting point of creating an even more structured approach to building and operating the network.

MNOs need the industrialization cycle

We are recommending that mobile network operators (MNOs) undergo the industrialization cycle to improve their businesses. With the advent of Open RAN and Mobile as a Software™ architectures, MNOs no longer need to hand over control of their networking decisions to their vendors. They are now able to exert more control over their network to reduce costs and deliver more and better services. The industrialization cycle is one way to structure this process. 

Below is a summarized version of the industrialization cycle. In our recently published Mobile as a Software™ White Paper, we go into more detail on each stage and include a case study of how each of the steps can be applied.

Here are the five stages of the cycle:

  • Standardize: Minimize the amount of variability in a facility, hardware, software, operations or the entire business.
  • Combine: Combine as much as possible to reduce the number of entities and operations under management.
  • Abstract: Create a normalization layer above all entities that allows the universal application of common management practices rather than managing exceptions.
  • Automate: Automate everything using the abstraction layer. No interaction should require human intervention so as to lower opex and increase agility.
  • Govern: Governance ensures the implemented cycle is achieving the needed outcomes across six dimensions: performance, scalability, quality, economics, compliance and security.
Overview of standard management approach
Overview of standard management approach

That’s the industrialization cycle – but it doesn’t stop when you get to governance. The cycle is repeated again and again as the MNO gains new insights to their business and network, and as the market evolves.

With a historical overreliance on the next big “G” as a cure all to their business problems, MNOs are digging themselves into a financial hole. But now with a software-driven network they are in a position to follow the lead of their cloud service provider colleagues and use the industrialization cycle to streamline their network for growth and profitability.

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