4 minute read 5 Apr 2021
Male IT engineer works on a laptop in a big data center

How you can optimize network investment for agility

By Fadi Chedid

EY Global Telecommunications Solutions Architect

Driving priority initiatives and solutions around 5G. Consulting and project managing. Advising leading organizations and Telecom operators in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

4 minute read 5 Apr 2021
Related topics TMT Telecommunications

It’s now more critical than ever to ensure that network investments are made wisely and lead to strong returns. 

This article is part of the EY NextWave Telecommunications Journal

In brief:
  • Amid the initial response to the COVID-19 crisis, telcos needed to understand the implications to their business and react in the best way possible.
  • Focusing on how network investments function and enhancing business models is the key to success for telcos today.

Amid the initial chaos of the COVID-19 crisis, many telcos were striving to understand the implications to their business and react in the best way possible. One particular area of interest was network investment.

If we look at the way telcos have traditionally functioned, many decisions have been driven by historical data. Operators build supply and demand models that identify trends over the last few years, and then use this data to forecast what they believe is going to happen. They identify gaps, or areas that require attention, and adjust their investment plans accordingly.

While this is a logical and established approach, the problem is that it doesn’t capture unexpected events that happen within the year, and the potential impact they have on supply and demand. As a result, when such events occur, these models’ ability to predict what you need to do next is put in question. So, what’s the answer?

Introducing our network investment dashboard

With an aim to help telcos navigate unexpected events in the future, we began by asking ourselves how to focus more on short-term circumstances to complement the existing models. What was the situation a few months or even weeks ago? And what about real-time? We identified the opportunity to create a solution that would give telcos a strong idea of whether or not there’s been a recent departure from the norm in a given area.

Working in collaboration with two leading industry stakeholders, we have built a dynamic and interactive alert dashboard that uses publicly available data and proxies to provide an indication of market supply and demand – and therefore informs customers of any significant recent material changes that might require them to revisit their existing forecasts.

While it’s fair to say the pilot we’ve created was triggered by the pandemic, its capabilities will transcend COVID-19. The solution applies to any event that might have a temporary or more permanent impact on supply and demand behavior in the market – and it will continue to offer value far beyond the current crisis.

Assessing supply and demand

On the demand side, our dashboard monitors consumption to provide an overview of what’s currently happening in the market. Refreshed frequently, it shows where downloads are happening (e.g., gaming, virtual meetings and streaming video); where the consumption is based (e.g., within business parks, in public areas or in homes); and what enterprises are announcing in terms of their strategic plans for the future (e.g., the announcement of working-from-home policies). This information about how demand could look in the future then enables telcos to make more informed decisions.

In the same way, the dashboard also analyzes supply and the ability of telcos to provide the bandwidth and services required to meet demand. So, for example, it enables you to see things such as download speeds, upload speeds and latency – which indirectly informs us whether supply issues are present. Another parameter that’s included is updates from operators themselves, announcing things such as the impact of local lockdowns on the movement of their engineers, or the effect of border closures on the transport of vital network equipment.

Based on these two factors – supply and demand – the dashboard can then synthesize directional findings for customers. It brings KPIs together to formulate insights that will help the client make informed decisions at an executive level.

Local insight, global potential

You can think of our dashboard as a bird’s-eye view into a local region – providing insight into a certain country’s market. It takes into consideration wireless and fixed telephony, broadband, consumer behavior and B2B performance. It tracks policies and regulations that might enable or inhibit supply and demand. And it also looks at any indications of where investments are currently being made, such as within cloud, 5G or IoT.

The dashboard then collates all of these factors to understand any shifts that are happening in the market and feeds them to the alert output. The approach we’ve taken is to provide findings on a local market level, enabling meaningful discussions within a defined country.

To read more about Future Network Now take a look at the full NextWave Journal (pdf)

Summary

Our alert dashboard is ultimately designed to bring attention to a certain area that is experiencing change. This could include areas such as network deployment, resilience or cybersecurity. EY can provide the specific support you need to optimize your investments and move your business forward.

About this article

By Fadi Chedid

EY Global Telecommunications Solutions Architect

Driving priority initiatives and solutions around 5G. Consulting and project managing. Advising leading organizations and Telecom operators in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Related topics TMT Telecommunications