Ericsson to manage Dtac’s network operations ahead of 5G roll-out

Ericsson, one of the world’s largest managed services firms, will run Dtac’s network operations from January 2020 onwards as the latter will focus on customer needs and behaviours to further improve customer experience in its upcoming 5G cellular service.

The network operations management deal, using Ericsson Operations Engine, has been signed, under which Dtac retains the network’s strategic planning and ownership of its assets. Dtac is majority-owned by Telenor, which also operates in the telecom sector of Myanmar and Malaysia. The arrangement will also allow Dtac to better focus on sales and marketing as well as spectrum management, according to Peter Laurin, Ericsson’s senior vice president and head of business area managed services.

Under this arrangement in which about 400 staff of Dtac will be transferred to the managed services company. It will further increase efficiency and capabilities of Dtac as it rolls out the 5G (fifth- generation) cellular service next year.

Currently, Ericsson handles a total of 1.1 billion telecom subscriptions worldwide on behalf of its clients, involving more than 300 networks in about 100 countries, including the latest Dtac operations in Thailand.

Laurin said telecom operators using this outsourcing model benefit from cost savings and Ericsson’s expertise as well as its use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other tools to improve performance and customer experience amid the expected explosive growth in data traffic due to the increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) in consumer and industrial areas.

For example, Ericsson Operations Engine will further increase efficiency while reducing network downtime by using AI, ML and other predictive analytical tools to manage software errors and other issues affecting telecom operators’ base stations, including the so-called sleeping cells. This will lead to better performance and customer experience transitioning from 4G to 5G services, especially critical services sensitive to latency such as remote surgical procedures or 5G connected factories or robots.

Ericsson will also ensure that public safety, network security, personal data protection, compliance and other crucial issues are effectively managed on behalf of telecom operators. The new 5G network will have less latency compared to 4G, making practical for factories and warehouses to connect their machines and robots using cellular and wi-fi technology, according to Laurin,

In addition, the transport sector will benefit from connected vehicles as well as self-driving trucks and public buses, while the entertainment sector may introduce new services such as real-time gaming or connected concerts in multiple locations. For healthcare, the 5G network will allow remote surgeries using haptic gloves, among other innovations.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected to auction its 5G spectrum in the second or third quarters of 2020 as some telecom firms have already tested live their 5G services. There are now about 23 5G networks in 14 countries around the world, including those in the US and South Korea.

Laurin said Ericsson also provides managed services in Japan and India where there are as many as 300 million subscribers. Overall, the 5G network is more data-driven and operators have to be proactive rather than reactive in managing the more complex networks.

Alexandra Reich, CEO of Dtac, said the partnership with Ericsson will help Dtac deepen its focus on customer needs and behaviours while ensuring the network’s development is robust and fit for the future. In Thailand, Dtac and Ericsson have been working together for many years with the latest cooperation being a recent 5G live test and a showcase of 5G use cases such as unmanned drones in smart cities, augmented reality technology and remotely-operated farming vehicles.

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