Cloud-Ready Infrastructure for Telecommunications

New technologies and competitors mean traditional providers must rethink their IT infrastructure.

1 Telecommunications Industry Trends

2 Monetizing Services with New Technologies

3 Optimizing Operations for New Business Models

4 Compliance: Challenges and Opportunities

5 Embracing the Future with Oracle Engineered Systems

6 Customer Stories

Telecommunications Industry Trends

The telecommunications industry is at a crossroads. New technologies and digital native competitors mean traditional providers must rethink their IT infrastructure to compete.

New, more nimble competitors gain entry.

Like so many other industries, the telecommunications (telco) industry is experiencing a revolution built on data and technology. Traditional telco providers have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this revolution. After all, consumers use their mobile devices for more than just making telephone calls: they use them to shop, bank, create, watch videos, take photos, board planes, catch a ride, and so much more.

However, as over-the-top (OTT) content and app providers such as Facebook, Hulu, Netflix, Yahoo, YouTube, and Amazon engage with customers through compelling content, they compete with network providers for market share and revenue. This leaves traditional telcos, already burdened with inflexible IT infrastructure and heavy regulation, struggling to catch up with these digital native competitors.

But telcos have a tremendous asset yet to be fully monetized: the massive volume of data—video, messages, photos, and other information—that flows through their networks. Capturing that revenue opportunity will require an entirely new business strategy built on a robust, modern IT infrastructure.

5G and streaming: the road to value-added services.

It’s not an overstatement to say that the 5G network will be the next revolution to rock the telecom industry. 5G brings three new improvements to the table: greater speed, lower latency, and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. These improvements will allow telcos to offer improved mobile experiences—enhanced with adaptive intelligence and augmented and virtual reality—as well as greater machine-to-machine connectivity, and higher resolution streaming services. The benefits will accrue not only to consumers but also to society in general. Agile 5G networks open the door to opportunities provided by the Internet of Things (IoT) such as smart grids, connected vehicles, in-store marketing, smart buildings and homes, Industry 4.0, and digital spaces.

Telco Opportunities Enabled by IoT

There is a growing sense of urgency to complete the deployment of the 5G networks that will bring the potential of IoT to reality. This eagerness stems largely from the realization that, with a 5G network in place, telcos become uniquely positioned to capitalize on the data they collect.

At Mobile World Congress Americas in September 2018, both AT&T and Verizon continued to discuss who is winning the race to the first 5G deployment, with Verizon launching its first fixed mobile wireless 5G, and AT&T planning to offer a commercial mobile 5G. Meanwhile, GSMA Intelligence forecasts that the number of 5G connections globally will reach 1.3 billion by 2025, covering 40 percent of the world’s population, or approximately 2.7 billion people. Thanks to 5G and IoT, the data capital of telcos will quickly expand, and opportunity will grow along with it.

5G Connections’ Reach

At the same time, traditional telcos are acquiring video content providers so that they can deliver streaming services. In October 2018, AT&T announced that it has plans for a “direct-to-consumer streaming service” as a result of its US$85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Comcast also purchased NBC Universal in 2011 to take advantage of the evolving media. This behavior allows telcos to deliver compelling video content to complement their existing business, as well as compete with OTT providers and drive more traffic on their infrastructure.

5G depends on agile, cloud-ready IT.

To become formidable 21st-century competitors, telcos need to be able to capture, manage, and monetize data in an agile environment. And that means a solid IT infrastructure upon which to build a data-driven, 5G-network strategy. Not surprisingly, telcos are investing heavily in new infrastructure, with IDC forecasting that the telecom compute-and-storage infrastructure market will reach US$16.35 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent since 2017. Investment is critical, but only if it’s building the right type of infrastructure—one that can create omnichannel customer experiences, personalize offerings, deliver content quickly and reliably, adapt and respond to customers in real time, move products and services to market quickly, support 24/7 operations, modernize the back office, and turn data into a reusable, revenue-generating asset.

That’s a tall order, and all but impossible with yesterday’s server, storage, and networking components. The solution lies in adopting a converged infrastructure that can tap the unlimited computing power and storage of the cloud.

Telcos are looking to leverage new technologies and services such as IoT, AI, machine learning, content streaming, and blockchain, which can drive business growth and competitive advantage. These new technologies were not only born in the cloud, they also rely on it to function. However, telcos pursuing cloud as the new operating model to optimize business operations are faced with a dilemma: they want to leverage these new technologies, but for one reason or another (for instance, massive investment in on-premises infrastructure or regulatory requirements), they are not ready to migrate fully to the cloud.

How can you prepare for the future?

The solution is to prepare your organization for the future with cloud-ready IT infrastructure that is available on premises as well as in the cloud: Oracle Engineered Systems. These systems are architected, integrated, tested, and optimized to work together with Oracle Database. They’re integrated with our Oracle Zero Data Loss and Recovery Appliance to eliminate data loss and accelerate recovery across your enterprise. And they provide a seamless path to the cloud when your organization is ready. As you’ll see here, many of Oracle’s leading telecommunications customers have already learned that they can optimize for today, while planning for tomorrow, with Oracle Engineered Systems.

Monetizing Services with New Technologies

With rising volumes of data, and IoT and 5G forging ahead, how can telecommunications companies ensure they are in a position to thrive?

Data: the key to harnessing shifting revenue streams.

Voice and text, once key revenue streams for telcos, have decreased significantly due, in large part to the rise of OTTs. These new communications companies, which have circumvented the traditional telcos, are delivering SMS messaging apps and voice through network operators via Wi-Fi or data service. In fact, a recent study from Juniper Research found that annual global operator-billed revenue from voice and data services is expected to fall by more than US$50 billion during the next five years, from US$837 billion in 2017 to US$785 billion by 2022. At the same time, the study identified opportunities afforded by IoT for operators to increase revenue by more than US$8 billion during that same time.

Opportunities for IoT, Voice and Data Services

As data surpasses traditional telephony in importance, telcos must find ways to monetize the data to provide more personalized services for customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

For some telcos, that means using 5G, video, and IoT to deliver new services to municipalities and regional governments. AT&T has announced its smart cities solutions for the City of Los Angeles, designed to improve the lives of citizens, gather data such as traffic and parking, and increase safety. The solution includes:

Digital kiosks
where homeless people can access social services.

Multicamera nodes
to monitor vehicle and pedestrian movement.

Audio sensors
to locate gunshots and alert police.

Structural monitoring
of elevated roads, bridges, and buildings to detect earthquake vulnerability.

To monetize the massive volume of data that telcos handle, they must prepare their networks for the cloud. Oracle Engineered Systems are completely integrated to optimize performance and maximize security at every layer of the stack, on premises and in the cloud—allowing telcos to optimize their on-premises equipment to take advantage of their expanding revenue opportunities.

Gansu Mobile expands its business with Oracle Engineered Systems.

Gansu Mobile is a subsidiary of China Mobile, a mobile network with 628 million 4G LTE mobile users and 100 million broadband customers. Like many telcos, the company wanted to support new business growth by improving the performance and reliability of its core business processes, such as mobile billing and messaging systems. It was also looking to resolve system problems more quickly, respond to customers faster, and lower the total cost of ownership of its IT infrastructure by moving its databases to a single platform.

With Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Gansu Mobile integrated five legacy databases onto one machine. By optimizing its database and application performance, Gansu Mobile was able to support a 30 percent increase in broadband internet users. At the same time, it halved its customer response time, resulting in a marked improvement in customer satisfaction.

Perhaps even more important, by implementing infrastructure to support the massive growth in data required for innovation, Gansu Mobile was able to offer new services such as Internet Protocol television (IPTV), video on demand, and interactive network teaching.

Optimizing Operations for New Business Models

What does digital transformation mean for the back office? Find out how modernizing core processes provides the foundation for agility and innovation.

Back-office systems must be able to handle new business models.

The growth of data and the coming rise of 5G deployments also has implications for the back office. For example, legacy operations and business applications are reaching the limits of what they can do to support this new, competitive environment. But these systems go beyond traditional operations and business support. Back-office systems extend to customer support and human-capital software as well. From the call center to billing and field service workers, existing systems simply can’t deliver the high-speed, personalized customer experience expected by today’s digital consumers.

Modernizing operations holds the key to business innovation.

Telcos require strong back-office operations that support the agility, scalability, and processing they’ll need to compete against traditional and nontraditional challengers. Building the back office on a cloud-ready platform with integrated infrastructure can minimize costs, maximize efficiency, and make innovation faster and easier. The cloud paves the way for transformation from traditional to digital, from slow to agile. To modernize their back offices and better compete with the OTTs, telcos need to take the following five steps:

  1. Modernize finance, planning, and operations applications to enhance agility and innovation.
  2. Build an end-to-end supply chain platform with cross-functional, demand-driven digital operating models and collaborative planning processes.
  3. Create omnichannel customer experiences to personalize offerings.
  4. Invest in infrastructure that offers a choice of deployment models, allowing IT flexibility to move seamlessly throughout the digital transformation process, no matter what the starting point is.
  5. Build infrastructure on cloud-ready engineered systems to help manage the deluge of data so that telcos can focus on value-creating initiatives, not slowed-down data management.

Telefonica Spain simplifies its IT strategy.

To fully unlock the revenue potential of their data, telcos must recognize the vital importance of a seamlessly integrated infrastructure that can support massive data workloads. Fortunately, telcos can learn from the success of one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Telefonica Spain.

Telefonica Spain serves 320 million customers in 21 countries across Latin America and Europe. The telco giant is investing in the future of the communities where it operates, with more than US$7.5 billion already invested in R&D. With the huge amounts of structured and unstructured data that it must manage, Telefonica had three major goals:

  1. Unifying business intelligence (BI) systems for visibility into market trends and customer preferences.
  2. Simplifying and integrating IT, BI, and big data systems to analyze data from multidevice customers.
  3. Developing new and better products and services.

To accomplish these goals, Telefonica Spain deployed Oracle Engineered Systems to aggregate massive amounts of data from multiple sources at speed and scale. Telefonica used Oracle Big Data Appliance to analyze data from its landline, mobile, and pay-TV services along with other digital sources, including market trends. This data gave Telefonica a better understanding of how its customers use its services. Telefonica also leveraged Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic to power and unify the company’s mission-critical applications and CRM platform with BI tools capable of analyzing the more than 3,200 TB of data available.

The results have enabled Telefonica to reduce costs, create seamless integrations between systems and networks, make better business decisions, and offer more personalized services. Telefonica’s ability to analyze real-time data from multiple customer devices has made a significant impact on customer satisfaction in several areas, including call-center efficiency, complaint resolution time, and personalized content recommendations for its cloud TV service. At the same time, the company tripled the cost efficiency of its BI infrastructure and reduced the time to market of new data sources by 90 percent.

Learn how Telefonica improves customer experience.

Compliance: Challenges and Opportunities

With data comes great responsibility. How can telcos comply with ever-increasing regulation?

Seeing the upside of regulation.

The telecom industry is facing new rules in the form of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018. GDPR adds new accountability obligations, stronger user rights, and restrictions on international data flows for any organization that stores user data, including telcos, financial services providers, and social networks. These regulations apply to businesses that collect data from EU citizens, regardless of their location in the world, as well as the export of any personal data outside of the region—so they affect all businesses that collect data from EU citizens. While increasing the compliance requirements, these new regulations also present tremendous opportunities for telecommunications companies to gain greater customer trust through improved data protection, and to expand and refine their service offerings. Furthermore, the data consolidation required to achieve regulatory compliance opens avenues for better insights and analytics—which helps telcos create more revenue-generating services and offer a better customer experience.

How to comply with GDPR: build on PCI DSS.

The good news is that telcos already have a blueprint for achieving GDPR compliance: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the latest version of which has been in place since 2016. While PCI DSS deals with cardholder data (CHD) and GDPR’s focus is on personally identifiable information (PII), both regulations are designed to improve customer data protection. What’s more, the segmentation and security measures required for PCI DSS can be deployed to help meet the less prescriptive GDPR requirements.

“People come to me and say, ‘How do I achieve GDPR compliance?’ Start with PCI DSS.” Jeremy King, International Director at the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council

Clearly, telcos must gain greater control over their data to comply with regulations. These goals will require a standardized, integrated infrastructure that provides data security, scalability, agility, resilience, and processing power. A system of coengineered components with security designed in, such as Oracle Exadata, can help meet the storage and processing needs of telcos handling sensitive personal or payment data. Oracle Exadata has the built-in ability to isolate storage and compute nodes that must adhere to varying degrees of confidentiality, integrity, and availability standards, thereby conforming to PCI DSS v3.2 requirements.

Another way telcos can achieve their compliance goals is with Oracle Cloud at Customer.

AT&T enhances performance and compliance.

As the world’s largest telco, AT&T operates a massive private cloud based on proprietary virtualization. But it needed a cloud-based solution to run its 2,000 largest mission-critical Oracle databases, and its private cloud couldn’t deliver the performance to support the transaction-intensive databases. The company also needed a solution that would keep all of the customer data on premises for regulatory, privacy, and security reasons.

Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer allowed AT&T to take advantage of the same infrastructure platform that Oracle uses in its own data center but located in AT&T’s facility. Through Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer, AT&T runs critical databases up to 100 TB in an Oracle-managed cloud that provides the same subscription and scalability as the public cloud. This configuration also offers performance benefits, according to AT&T Lead Principal Technical Architect Claude Garalde: “For performance, you want the database to be really close to the application and middleware layers,” he says. “You don’t necessarily want to be going out over a public internet link or even a VPN.” With its data center on the same network as its business applications, AT&T isn’t held back by latency.

Watch Claude Garalde describe how Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer works for AT&T.

Embracing the Future with Oracle Engineered Systems

The telecommunications company that can manage the coming explosion of data can control its destiny.

The right foundation for the future.

The road to the future for telcos must start with the right foundation—high-performance, cloud-ready, reliable IT infrastructure that can support the workloads that will be created by 5G networks. With that foundation in place, telcos can build the capacity and speed needed to power innovative, data-driven service offerings—and control their destiny.

Hear how Sprint uses Oracle Exadata to change the way it runs its business.

Watch how Oracle Cloud gives Portugal Telecom customer connectivity.

A pivotal time for telcos.

Innovative new services and content and the rise of IoT will accelerate the explosion of data and telcos will need 5G networks to harness its value.

Telcos are ideally positioned to lead this charge, but the commitment to invest in integrated infrastructure designed specifically for big data processes will be critical for the successful monetization of this opportunity. Now is the time for telcos to reimagine the future of their business—and go after it.

All Oracle Engineered Systems consumption models are cloud-ready when you are. Choose traditional on-premises deployment, private cloud, or public cloud behind your firewall—and get the same set of world-class, fully compatible, cloud-ready capabilities.

Customer Stories

Hear from telco customers who are experiencing the benefits of Oracle Engineered Systems for themselves.

North America

AT&T Adopts Oracle Cloud at Customer for Critical Workloads

By moving Oracle Database workloads to Oracle Cloud at Customer, AT&T gains all of the benefits of the cloud behind its firewall, fully managed by Oracle. As a result, AT&T can free up resources to focus on technology, media, and telecommunications.

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Sprint Drives IT and Business Gains with Oracle Exadata

Hear how Sprint uses Oracle Exadata to change the way it runs its business with dramatic improvements in performance, data center savings, storage savings, and support.

Watch the video

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Telefonica Improves Customer Experience with 360-degree View

Telefonica’s Carolina Bouvard, architecture, transformation, and BI manager, speaks about improving operational processes by creating a 360-degree view of the customer self-service model to provide a better experience for its customers.

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Oracle Cloud Gives Portugal Telecom Customer Connectivity

Oracle Private Cloud Appliance gives Portugal Telecom deployment, virtualization, and customer connectivity. It has invested in cloud, both hybrid and private, to support its virtualization environment.

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BT Spain Builds “Cloud of Clouds” on Oracle Private Cloud Appliance

For its “Cloud of Clouds” vision, BT Spain uses Oracle Private Cloud Appliance to address its needs for incremental scalability, operational efficiency, workload consolidation, and Trusted Partitions licensing.

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Korek Telecom Supports Rapid Growth and Business Agility with Up to 10x Faster Management Reporting

Korek Telecom deployed Oracle Communications Data Model on Oracle Exadata to dramatically enhance reporting capabilities and drive growth in subscriber acquisition.

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MTN Builds a New Platform for Its Global Business with an Oracle Engineered Systems and Oracle Managed Cloud Solution

MTN implemented Oracle Financials, Oracle Supply Chain, Oracle Primavera, Oracle Hyperion, and Oracle Business Intelligence on Oracle Engineered Systems and Oracle Managed Cloud Services.

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Asia Pacific and Japan

HKBN Speeds Time to Market with Oracle Exadata

Oracle Exadata helps Hong Kong Broadband Network to accelerate time to market by consolidating all of its customer information into a single database.

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Gansu Mobile Sees 30% Annual Growth in Its Internet Services with Oracle

Gansu Mobile enhanced customer service and lowered operating costs with Oracle Exadata, accelerating query performance by 50 times and increasing storage capacity by 10 times.

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Heilongjiang Mobile Drastically Cuts Costs with Oracle Engineered Systems

Heilongjiang Mobile integrated Oracle Exadata Database Machine and cut annual maintenance costs, reduced power usage, and ensured business continuity.

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KDDI Enhances System Performance and Supports Growth Strategy with Oracle

KDDI ensured seamless migration of more than 25 million authentication ID to Oracle Exadata in just four hours, nearly doubling the payment transaction processing speed.

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