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Nokia announced new research showing that communication service providers (CSPs) are lagging behind in having the right software solutions in place to help them monetize their 5G networks with new services and network management tools.

To generate returns beyond the traditional data plans of the 3G/4G era, CSPs and enterprises need to modernize their legacy monetization systems, with new service offerings and application development ecosystems. New monetization systems that enable operators to deliver new services, like slicing, faster and at scale are a critical enabler of helping CSPs and enterprises realize faster returns on their network investments.

However, the Nokia-commissioned global survey of 100 CSPs around the world found that only 11% of respondents have sufficient Business Support Systems (BSS) in place to meet the needs of 5G-enabled business models. BSS are a critical patchwork of business applications, which includes monetization tools, that help CSPs manage their operations and supply chains through functions, such as billing and charging, and for delivering a solid customer experience.

An overwhelming number of survey respondents, at 98%, indicated they would have to alter their BSS in the coming years in order to put proper, up-to-date monetization tools in place.

The survey also found that nearly 70% of CSPs are now considering deploying cloud-based monetization solutions. In addition, two-thirds of respondents indicated they believe that real-time charging is essential for 5G monetization, in part because of its ability to help CSPs respond quickly to customer demands.

A cloud-native software architecture is key to achieving a 5G-ready monetization system, with many benefits that include limitless scalability, and an ideal platform for AI, analytics, and edge computing capabilities for ultra-low latency use cases.

John Abraham, principal analyst at Analysys Mason, said, "Most service providers are ill-prepared to effectively engage and monetize emerging 5G-enabled use cases and need to urgently transform their BSS. With service providers looking to get that ROI on 5G, now is the time for them to invest in flexible monetization systems especially as 5G brings to the forefront the importance of real-time charging capabilities. Given Nokia’s portfolio and expertise, they are well placed to support CSPs on this journey."

Meanwhile, Hamdy Farid, senior vice president, Business Applications at Nokia, said, “To unlock 5G revenues and move beyond the traditional data plan model, a major shift among CSPs is needed toward adaptable monetization systems that utilize cloud-native, scalable and flexible infrastructure and open APIs for easy integration and deployment; and I think this survey highlights the work still to be done.”

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