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Telefónica rolls out AI-based network management

Mobile operator tests Huawei’s SmartCare service operation centre to manage customer connections to its networks

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Mobile networking

Telefónica is applying artificial intelligence (AI) analytics techniques to three new Huawei-backed service operation centres (SOCs) to deliver more insight into how its mobile networks are being used, to anticipate potential problem areas, and to identify new ways to improve the user experience.

The Spain-based operator – which runs the O2 network in the UK – has deployed the new SOCs in Argentina, Chile and Germany in the first stage of a new project to enable its local businesses to capture real-time information on customer service experiences.

Telefónica said it was was a complex and ambitious undertaking to move from a traditional network-first model towards a service and customer-centric style of business, but the ability to better understand, manage and assure customer experience would have clear long-term benefits.

“These SOCs are the first step in bringing customer experience to the next level,” said Telefónica global CTO Enrique Blanco. “In the near future, the application of AI to networks will maximise capacity and solve any problems before users even notice anything. The final objective is to manage the network automatically to avert any potential problems.

“Machine learning is also becoming critical as operators virtualise their infrastructure. Networks are becoming dynamic and exponentially more complicated to manage as the control is delegated to the network’s edge. As Telefónica moves towards the next generation of networks, intelligence and analytics are key to turn data into knowledge that enables real-life innovation.”

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The SOCs will use anonymous and aggregated information on the use of customer-facing networks, and will be powered by Huawei’s SmartCare system to provide per-service-per-user visibility of customer experiences, and to bridge the gap between network resource asset management and customer asset management. The Chinese supplier will also assist with the launch of a wider operations transformation programme.

Telefónica said this data-driven approach would enable it to make decisions based on homogenous criteria and calculations, in real time, and with accurate and comparable data.

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