At MWC 2023, Google Cloud targets cloud-native network transformation

At MWC 2023, Google Cloud targets cloud-native network transformation

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Google Cloud said today at MWC, the former Mobile World Congress, that it’s taking steps to help communication service providers double down on their network transformation efforts.

It’s doing so through the launch of three new telecommunications products that, combined, form a unified cloud solution that helps CSPs build, deploy and operate hybrid, cloud-native networks, collect and manage network data, and improve customer experiences using artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Google Cloud also announced an update to Google Distributed Cloud Edge that will enable CSPs to deploy their cloud-native networks within hybrid cloud environments. With GDC Edge, it becomes possible for CSPs to extend Google Cloud’s infrastructure to the very edge of their radio access networks, as well as to their core 5G networks. Further, they’ll be able to run key network functions in any Google Cloud region on Google Kubernetes Engine thanks to the introduction of a new Network Function Optimizer for that service.

According to Google Cloud, today’s announcements cater to a growing trend in the telecoms industry that will see more than 70% of CSPs adopt cloud-native network functions by the end of this year. These new technologies play a critical role in accelerating network modernization, simplifying operations and easing interoperability problems, Google said. The issue is that though automation is key to unlocking the benefits of cloud-native networks, CSPs will struggle if they try to apply legacy automation practices.

Google’s solutions focus on Telecom Network Automation, a new cloud service that’s said to accelerate CSP network and edge deployments through the use of Kubernetes-based cloud-native automation tools. It’s managed by a cloud version of the open-source Nephio project that Google founded in 2022, aimed at increasing time to market and ensure multivendor interoperability while reducing configuration errors.

Telecom Network Automation is available in private preview starting today, but Bell Canada revealed it has already used an early release of the service to automate the implementation of GDC Edge so it could redesign its core 5G network. “Our partnership with Google Cloud advances our goal to fully automate our hybrid 5G core implementation with control functions over Google Kubernetes (GKE) and Google Distributed Cloud Edge,” said Petri Lyytikainen, Bell Canada’s vice president of enterprise architecture and smart core.

Also available in private preview today is Telecom Data Fabric, which Google said will help CSPs generate insights from their network data to optimize its performance and reliability. According to Google, it works by simplifying network data collection, normalization and correlation through an adapter framework. Telecom Data Fabric integrates Google’s BigQuery analytics service and DataPlex data mesh architecture. It also provides a way for CSPs to create AI analytics applications of their own in support of cross-domain network operations, energy efficiency and subscriber experiences.

Finally, Telecom Subscriber Insights is aimed at helping CSPs discover new avenues for revenue generation and increase their customers’ lifetime value while reducing acquisition costs, Google said. It’s an AI-powered tool that enables companies to extract insights from existing data sources in a privacy-safe way, ingesting and analyzing data with algorithms and providing recommended actions to help CSPs better engage with subscribers across multiple channels. As a result, it helps CSPs to get a better understanding of their customer’s behavior, cross-sell and upsell them, manage churn and acquire new subscribers.

Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian said he believes CSPs are facing enormous pressure to invest in and build next-generation networks, while managing rising capital and operational expenses. “By applying cloud-native principles to network architectures, and accelerating subscriber growth through a holistic data management source, CSPs have the opportunity to bridge the gap between connectivity of today and connectivity of the future,” he said.

Image: Google Cloud

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