Early Adopters of 5G SA Save 36% in TCO and Gain Competitive Advantages

Initial commercial deployments for 5G SA are creating a buzz in the industry. When 5G was first available, some CSPs quickly upgraded their network to 5G NSA but discovered they still could not provide the newest services that needed ultra-low latency or network slicing.

Many CSPs are now running multiple cores to support existing subscribers and new use cases. Some CSPs may end up implementing 5G SA on a new mobile core and continue to deliver services on existing 4G EPC and 5G NSA cores. In such cases, the cost to maintain multiple cores will be higher than the costs of maintaining a single converged mobile core that supports multiple wireless generations (e.g., 2G-5G).

All CSPs will eventually move to 5GC SA, but the key question is the timing. What if CSPs could move NOW to a single converged core instead of waiting to reap the cost savings and revenue benefits later? Mavenir has deployed a cloud-native converged mobile core that runs 5G SA and also supports previous standards such as 4G EPC and 5G NSA. This mobile core operates on an open architecture, is automated, runs on commercial hardware (COTS), and seamlessly integrates with 3rd party network functions. It’s also fully microservices-based and runs in containers, which means it can run on any cloud – private, public, or hybrid.

Early Adopters Have the Jump

A TCO analysis by Senza Fili, commissioned by Mavenir, reveals how each year of delay in moving to a converged 5G core increases the costs of managing multiple mobile cores even more. The current delay penalties offset any future benefits. A late adopter can lose as much as 10% in the first year of delay and up to 36% in 5 years.

In April 2022, during a Sparring Partners Webinar, Monica Paolini, Founder and Principal Analyst, Senza Fili, and Dejan Leskaroski, VP Product Management Packet Core, discussed the tradeoffs of an early versus late transition to the converged 5G SA core.

During the session, Leskaroski noted that “the real value of a 5G SA core goes beyond the consumer model. The technology, new revenue, and operational possibilities that open up will shape the future of a CSPs business.” Early adopters not only get a TCO saving but also may get many other benefits that translate into a competitive advantage and future-proofing network operations. Some of those benefits include:

Taking the Opportunity to Go Cloud-Native

Going to 5G should not just be about going to new access technology. A big part of the transition should focus on moving to a cloud-native environment. Traditionally, most operators have deployed applications on their own on-premises or private clouds. But by moving to a cloud-native architecture using containers, the door is opened to the public cloud, hybrid cloud deployments, and even pay-as-you-go models. It’s more than just providing one consumer use case. It can include enterprise use cases, edge use cases, and massive IoT use cases (e.g., connecting massive numbers of low-complexity, low-cost devices with long battery life and relatively low throughput speeds). Mavenir recently published a paper on service-based architecture (SBA) and the value it brings. With 5G SA and moving to an SBA, integrations that previously took three to six months can now be completed in weeks.

Bringing Innovation and Choice through Openness

A goal of being open is that a customer should be allowed to pick the best of breed when it comes to different network functions or components. Packet core, for example, has over 20 network functions. CSPs should be able to mix and match them for the solution that best meets their needs. There are cases, such as private networks, where picking one vendor may make sense, but it still should be a choice. CSPs building an extensive network should be able to select the best-of-breed: the best-of-breed user plane, the best-of-breed policy, and best-of-breed subscriber management.

Increasing Speed-To-Market with CI/CD

Top of mind for all CSPs is how fast to develop, test, and deliver software to customers. Traditional cycles could take 6 – 9 months to roll out new features. Using Open-source tools for continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) means standardizing one way of delivering software across vendors. CI/CD simplifies how vendors will actually provide the software to their customers or operators. It’s about testing the network functions consistently and using the same test framework. Fully embracing CI/CD will result in even more OPEX savings and a more competitive environment.

Running multiple cores is inefficient AND avoidable with a cloud-native microservices-based converged packet core. Choosing to move to a 5G solution, such as Mavenir’s Converged Packet Core, presents an opportunity to both save costs and move to a future-proofed network, deploying a cloud-native solution with open architecture and leveraging industry-leading processes for automation.

Read the analysis paper “Move as fast as you can to the 5GC” by Senza Fili to learn more about the potential savings of 36% in 5 years.

Listen to the Sparring Partners Session with Monica Paolini, Senza Fili, and Dejan Leskaroski, Mavenir for more details and discussion on the analysis and audience questions.

Packet Core (vEPC, 5G)
Dark Mode