The results were indisputable: a 37% accuracy improvement in capacity prioritization, 72% reduction in capacity degradation, and 76% reduction in unnecessary capex and opex (over-investment). But this is just the beginning; with AI, planning rules are dynamic and continuously evolving toward zero-error tolerance. As the AI-based tool continues to learn and evolve on the basis of network and traffic patterns, significant capex accuracy can be achieved.
Greater capex efficiency is no longer a desirable attribute, but a business-critical competitive differentiator in the 5G era. For this to happen, a major modernization of network planning activities is required on multiple fronts.
AI-driven tools can help provide improved customer experience and financial benefits while also streamlining workflows and upskilling resources. In this way, smart capex planning can act as a foundation for broader strategic goals.
Greater levels of automation will be the lifeblood of a new capex planning paradigm, one where business outcomes inform overhaul of tools, processes and roles. Legacy systems and processes will not disappear overnight, but AI-driven planning tools will provide a path to graceful attrition and retirement of aging systems without business or operational disruption.
Ultimately, network planning driven by AI and automation has the potential to deliver upside in three important ways by:
- Optimizing capex on the basis of value to customers
- Reducing customer churn
- Streamlining business processes and increasing ROIC
Taken together, these benefits will determine which operators are able to thrive as opposed to surviving in the 5G era.