• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The industry’s move to software, cloud and AI-based solutions has opened up a whole new world of broadband monetization opportunities. Learn more on this topic with Telecom Review’s exclusive interview with Mohamed Salama, head of fixed networks, Nokia MEA.

With the fixed broadband market growing rapidly, how can telcos leverage this expansion to boost their monetization opportunities?

Let me start by sharing an observation from my engagements with customers. Their attitude towards fixed broadband, specifically fiber, has completely changed. Not so long ago, our conversations focused on the need to transition to fiber, how to deploy it and how to do so cost-effectively. Lately, these technical discussions have morphed into ones about business: customers are now asking how they can introduce new services and generate more revenue from their fiber infrastructure. 

Indeed, the wide availability of fiber and the advances in its performance have triggered a new paradigm. Fiber-to-the-Home is becoming Fiber for Everything. Generating more revenue streams by adding new use cases can be achieved with minimal additional investment. On the pure physical connectivity layer, the existing FTTH network is eminently suitable for supporting additional business services such as mobile transport or smart city connectivity; there is no need to dig new trenches in the streets.

Additionally, the industry’s move to software, cloud and AI-based solutions has opened up a whole new world of broadband monetization opportunities. Our advice to customers is that a software enablement strategy is essential if they want to capture new revenue streams in the shortest time-to-market, at the lowest possible incremental cost and while optimizing the overall subscriber experience.

Can you explain how new fixed broadband revenue streams are being enabled by software-defined access? What use cases are heavily impacted, and how does Nokia contribute to this?

Before the emergence of software-defined access networking (SDAN), it could take months, or many weeks at best, for a service provider to develop new services and implement them in the network. This was frustrating for both the providers and their end customers.

SDAN could not have arrived at a better time. It takes away the complexity by using an open and flexible cloud-based software platform to automate their operations and introduce new features/services faster.

Here again, while initial discussions about SDAN were around its implementation and operational savings, we are now talking about how SDAN can enable new revenue streams. In simple terms, SDAN can segment the network into software-based network slices or virtualized portions that support consistent and high-performance connectivity. This can be used to sell premium residential services, new wholesale and neutral host models, or B2B services like virtual office working from home, Industry 4.0 enterprise connectivity or Metaverse VR sessions.

One of the best examples to illustrate this concept is cloud gaming. Gamers want quick reactions and a high-resolution gaming experience. At Nokia, we have developed an end-to-end network solution that leverages SDAN slicing capabilities to deliver the prerequisites of low latency and high throughput. Here in MEA, we have successfully demonstrated fully automated assurance based on real-time network KPIs of the gaming slice during conditions of increased network latency.

As a next step, we are also working with our customers in the region to develop new use cases around network optimization, predictive care and better assurance using powerful data-driven network insights, closed-loop automation and machine learning, to name a few. With fixed wireless access ramping up, more operators in the region started looking for an end-to-end service lifecycle management system for fixed wireless access. As part of our SDAN solution suite, we have developed a controller that could verify mobile coverage and available capacity before installation, optimize usage of radio resources and provide service assurance with high-precision real-time telemetry.

How does Nokia help improve the experience for broadband devices by enabling the easy and fast introduction of software-based value-added services via the app store?

We consider the home network as one of the areas of huge opportunity for monetization — but only if you get it right. You can deliver brilliant, low-latency, 1 Gb/s services to the home, but if the Wi-Fi doesn’t extend to where your daughter is streaming video, then you have a problem. High-performing, self-optimizing whole-home Wi-Fi has become a non-negotiable element of the broadband experience. Therefore, at Nokia, we have heavily invested in meshed Wi-Fi gateways that are fully operator-controlled by cloud-based software solutions.

Now, with the emerging concept of application containers, these Wi-Fi gateways also enable the simple and fast introduction of new value-added services. Traditionally, new services for in-home Wi-Fi required an entire device software upgrade. With the container framework, we have introduced an isolated environment within the devices where applications can run using dedicated resources. So, now you can bypass the firmware updates to install or update the application without interfering with the underlying functioning of the device or other applications.

For this, we have set up an ecosystem of third-party developers who make their applications available through our Nokia Application Container platform. So far, these include advanced capabilities like cybersecurity, multicast video delivery over Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi slicing and Wi-Fi motion sensing, with more to come very soon.

Please explain how software works on the network layer.

There are many areas where advanced software-defined network capabilities bring benefits to network operations. For example, migration to next-generation PON. While more advanced operators, mainly in the GCC region, are moving fast with XGS introduction, other service providers in the region still opt for a more cost-efficient GPON rollout without immediate plans for XGS.

These operators can benefit from Nokia’s multi-PON solution, so they can start with GPON, and when XGS-PON is needed, they can activate it remotely without even visiting the central office. Next-generation PON capabilities would only be enabled through a software license, allowing pay-as-you-grow and full investment protection from the start.

Another example would be service activation. Installing an ONT at the customer's home and activating the service typically involves a lot of time, manual effort and can cause errors. All of that increases the cost and time, impacting customer satisfaction. However, with the automated software that runs in the cloud, the activation can be radically simplified and shortened.

Yet another example would be network slicing. It is a software feature that enables operators to slice a single physical network into different slices (or virtual partitions). Each slice can be assigned to a different service (one slice for consumer services, another for enterprises, etc.) or even different service providers in the case of wholesale networks.

All of these are examples of how we can use advanced software features to make the networks smarter, create more revenue and achieve more savings.

What are Nokia’s ongoing initiatives that will help telcos realize fixed broadband monetization opportunities through software enablement?

The call for new fixed broadband monetization opportunities, which need to be delivered in the shortest time-to-market, at the lowest possible incremental cost, and while optimizing the overall subscriber experience, is resulting in a strong industry push towards software capabilities.

Therefore, at Nokia, we have committed significant R&D resources to the software enablement of all layers of our fixed broadband solutions - the network, the home, enterprise, and the cloud.

While the introduction pace of service providers may differ in this software enablement, multiple MEA operators have started deploying one or more of these solutions. These partnerships and collaborations across the industry will be vital to further develop relevant use cases.

The foundations are now in place; it is the time to scale.

Pin It