Virtual infrastructure — real value
Political and economic groups want to tap into the vast savings and income potential of future communications services for the digital economy, which will be centred around real-time data, delivery tracking, wearables, preventative healthcare, smart meters and more.
The eInfrastructure behind this super-smart, super-connected digital future will use 5G. But many political institutions view 5G as just an incremental improvement to 4G and Wi-Fi. That is, it’s just more cost-efficient connectivity and not much use if it isn’t transporting something valuable, which is where true economic potential lies.
Here’s a different view — there is value in 5G infrastructure over and above its transport function. Positioning RAN as part of the cloud business eco-system transforms 5G eInfrastructure into something that can add value in and of itself.
‘Cloudification’, then, brings about new business models — but not just through new services. Cloud-RAN is a platform for creating value. With cloud in the network and at the edge, new business innovations become obtainable, like mobile network multi-tenancy to support on-demand allocation of networking, storage and compute resources. Or multi-service- and context-aware adaptation of network functions to support services and corresponding QoE/QoS requirements.
Therefore, dedicated networks contained in slices can meet the need of different services and tenants, be they service quality and performance, service-specific functionality, or adaptation to available infrastructure.
Potential new revenue drivers like these require innovative thinking and cooperation to open interfaces, enable control and enable user plane splits. Nevertheless, with a change of mindset, intrinsic value will exist in 5G infrastructure where there was — at least according to some people — none before.