5G promises to enable a wide range of exciting new use cases for consumers and businesses alike. Delivering many of the most profitable use cases not only requires new network capabilities such as dynamic end-to-end slicing but also automated operations and innovative business capabilities. The static legacy business support systems (BSSs) that many communication service providers (CSPs) rely on today are not up to the task.
Monetization solutions for the 5G era need to be highly flexible to support a wide range of business models and their corresponding new pricing and charging models to drive new revenue. They need to be open to enable digital interactions with customers and an ecosystem of partners. They need to be agile to allow CSPs to bring highly dynamic digital services to the market more rapidly. And they need to facilitate operational efficiency and cost reductions. (See also Are your business systems ready to monetize 5G?).
Converged charging capabilities play a particularly vital role in connecting the network to the business. This summer, several of our service provider customers reached important milestones on their journey to better 5G monetization. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at two of those projects.
North American service provider
Many emerging use cases rely on a 5G standalone (SA) core to support new capabilities such as network slicing. Several service providers in North America are currently rolling out 5G SA capabilities. (Manish Dhawan provided more insights in this blog post, How North American operators are unlocking the value of 5G: Making the leap to the standalone core).
A leading North American CSP required a converged charging solution to provide the 5G Charging Function (CHF) to enable the monetization of new use cases. The desired solution needed to be cloud-native, scalable to support tens of millions of customers, and had to be deployed quickly with full integration into a multi-vendor environment.
The service provider selected Nokia's Converged Charging solution. Leveraging a continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipeline and cloud-native technologies, the customer's initial deployment and acceptance were completed within just two weeks. During the project, evolving customer requirements for interworking, the operating environment, platform services and the CI/CD pipeline technology could be addressed quickly.
The software was successfully deployed in a Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) web-scale environment. And a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) layer was introduced to achieve operational efficiencies by using common supporting functions for multiple network elements.
While interoperability in a multi-vendor environment is a common scenario, it's more challenging when relevant standards specifications are still evolving. Nokia's leadership in 3GPP standards working groups helps to shape and evolve applicable specifications jointly with other vendors.
In addition to the integration with third-party 5G core functions, there was also a need to seamlessly interwork with existing 4G core functions and integrate with third-party mediation/billing systems. Any software fixes required to address interoperability issues could be delivered and deployed quickly.
Initially used to monetize consumer services, the solution has laid the foundation for longer-term IoT and enterprise monetization as new 5G services are created.
European service provider
“We believe in creating intuitive, high-quality experiences for our customers. Nokia’s cloud-native monetization software enables Sunrise to rapidly launch innovative services for our private and business customers, support emerging use cases enabled by 5G and IoT, and further increase customer loyalty.” - Elmar Grasser, CTO/CIO, Sunrise.
In Europe, Sunrise Communications AG went live in August 2020 with Nokia’s cloud-native converged charging software. As one of the first service providers to launch 5G services in Europe, they can now more rapidly package, price and promote a wide range of consumer and business services across 4G and 5G. With this deployment, Sunrise can quickly create differentiated offers even for the most complex IoT use cases and emerging services enabled by 5G network slicing.
Built on Nokia Software’s Common Software Foundation, which makes Nokia’s software products easier to deploy, integrate, use and service, Nokia Converged Charging offers the agility, flexibility and reliability required to efficiently deliver high-quality digital services in the 5G era.