Stefano Savioli, Head of Global Service Sales, Analytic & NPO, Nokia

In this extremely competitive environment, what is the role of network planning and optimization services and Nokia’s differentiating factor?

The market is extremely tough, with competition from multiple players, including the traditional telecom infrastructure vendors, software companies, and local services specialists. There are several areas where Nokia is able to differentiate. From a network planning perspective Nokia has the capability to help its customers understand the financial implications of selecting the right site locations. This enables operators to make smart decisions when deploying new technologies such as LTE or small cells to maximize their Return on Investment. On the network optimization side, operators face declining ARPUs (Average Revenues per User) and a constant struggle to decrease OpEx. More efficient optimization can be the savior, leveraging Robotic Process Automation and other forms of extreme automation to boost operational efficiency.

Network operators also need to differentiate through the quality of experience that they offer to their customers, especially in the new applications whose uptake has been accelerated by the high data rates that LTE networks can provide. In this area Nokia has a unique offering in end user experience optimization. In India we have started to see voice over LTE (VoLTE) as an emerging trend and differentiator, and video streaming will soon be the next Nokia, with its array of services focusing on optimizing and improving the quality of experience on a VoLTE call, streaming over YouTube or any other platform, is able to provide an edge.

How do you see the next two years panning out for India?

India is an amazing market and has always been a very important one for Nokia. And now, with the disruptive methods followed by Reliance Jio, there is a distinct change in the other operators’ business model too. Reliance Jio’s heavy thrust on data and VoLTE is driving the other operators to do the same. India is also following the M&A route, typical of this industry. The consolidation between Vodafone and Idea will bring an increasingly important role for NPO. With consolidation being a global trend, Nokia brings with it best practice from our engagements with other operators from all over the world.

5G will bring a new level of performance and characteristics to the telecom networks and with it the need for a change in the business models of telcos. What will change at the NPO end then?

5G is going to be very interesting, it is a totally different ball game from 4G. While 4G is all about data, 5G is about finding (and monetizing) new use cases. In 5G, there will not be a single use case. Each operator will need to evaluate the business case for 5G and decide which use cases make sense for their market and end customers. And that will basically drive what the network looks like. At the recently held India Mobile Congress 2017, we have demonstrated Nokia’s 5G Acceleration Services. These are all about helping the operators understand the different use cases, the implications, how the existing network may be evolved with the 5G network for the use case that the operator has in mind.

Our NPO Transformation service enables the operator to succeed with new technologies. We start by assessing the operator’s current efficiency and performance (“as is” state).  Then we use Lean and Kaizen techniques and automation to transform its NPO operations and assure long-term quality.

Anything else you may like to add

Our industry is facing a perfect storm: with rising traffic, network complexity, and ever-increasing expectations from subscribers. To meet this challenge, we have launched a new analytics platform, called Nokia AVA that is powering the next generation of services that we are offering. Nokia AVA helps operators to unlock the value of telco data, through targeted and actionable insights. Using advanced analysis techniques, our services cut costs, reduce time spent on resolving problems, prevent service degradations, and improve subscriber experience.

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