Experts at Oracle Predict Rising Communications Trends for 2024

In 2023, AI dominated the news cycle while companies raced to implement their own versions of ChatGPT or offer AI-embedded solutions. Oracle boosted its cloud infrastructure along with recognizing the new interest in AI, offering its own generative AI service in OCI.

As the telecoms value chain is transforming under pressure from cloud-native technologies, service providers are increasingly looking for new revenue streams through B2B go-to market models and will need a programmable network and an open platform that will be key to supporting the digital services enabled by these models.

This will require planning for and launching 5G standalone networks with cloud native foundations, as well as the ability to access and interpret 5G data, and monetize new revenue streams.

Here, Oracle offers its predictions for 2024:

Service providers will acknowledge the critical nature of cloud native in 5G planning.

Defining a cloud native blueprint early on in a 5G journey is imperative for communications service providers today. Container based network functions (NF) compel CSPs to think more about software and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) when creating new services. CI/CD must accommodate this technological diversity for lifecycle management of network resources, and automated maintenance of virtual and cloudified resources. According to ABI Research, for CSPs to implement CI/CD, they may have to adopt a microservices design, for a true cloud-native design of some NFs, microservices may well have to use fractions of one CPU core.

5G analytics will play a more important role in 2024.  

5G analytics should be considered an integral part of a communication service providers (CSPs) journey to fulfil a company-wide vision for the success of 5G. By bringing analytics at the core network layer, CSPs can start to think not only in terms of network optimization with insights, but also into leveraging analytics for new revenue streams in their monetization strategy – this would involve thinking outside of the 3GPP box as the current 3GPP release 17 5G core analytics are still fairly limited when it comes to new revenue generation.

The voice services evolution is urgent.

With the arrival of 5G, the commercial pressure to retire 2G and 3G networks and re-farm frequencies is increasing. According to GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2023, 5G adoption continues to rise due to new network deployments and cheaper devices. The number of connections on legacy networks (2G and 3G) will continue to decline in the coming years as users migrate to 4G and 5G, resulting in more network shutdowns.  

In this context, the need to evolve from circuit-switched services to next-generation services such as VoLTE and VoNR is more urgent than ever. The time of previous wireless technologies is coming to an end.  

Cloud communication solutions will be the foundation of the future of work.  

The way people work will remain hybrid and flexible. Today, employees want the choice of working remotely or in an office. Creating human-centric models for a hybrid environment based on secure, seamless communications tools with the flexibility to collaborate and communicate from anywhere is critical to where the workplace is headed. This requires an agile approach where each employee communicates according to their own needs. Cloud communication and collaboration solutions are the basis for implementing the future of work. Enterprises need to pay attention to connectivity and flexibility when adopting cloud platforms to ensure that the employee is not limited, while their security perimeter is maximally protected.

Service providers will embrace an autonomous networks future.

As communications service providers (CSPs) globally seek to more efficiently manage their networks through increased automation and AI/ML, many are looking to chart the path towards an autonomous networks future as espoused by the TMF’s Autonomous Network (AN) project. It encourages CSPs to baseline their current level of operational maturity in certain areas and to outline a roadmap towards true operational autonomy. We foresee more CSPs setting public targets with timeframes for AN maturity withing their organizations with many seeking Level 3 compliance (policy based autonomy and conditional closed-loop control) and some Level 4 compliance (intent driven closed-loop control) as well as seeking collaborative partners with whom to engage in the journey. Important to note however that new 5G and 6G use cases and operational automation will depend on CSPs being able to create cloud-native network platforms with end-to-end programmability.