British multinational operator Vodafone and Finnish telecommunications company Nokia said they have partnered to jointly develop a new machine learning (ML) system designed to detect and remediate network anomalies before they affect customers. Based on Nokia’s Bell Labs algorithm, the Anomaly Detection Service product runs on Google Cloud and is already being rolled out across Vodafone’s pan-European network.
In a joint statement, the partners said the ML system quickly detects and troubleshoots irregularities, such as mobile site congestion and interference, as well as unexpected latency, that may have an impact on customer service quality. Following an initial deployment in Italy on more than 60,000 4G/LTE cells, Vodafone said it will be extending the service to all its European markets by early 2022, and there are plans to eventually apply it on the company’s 5G and core networks.
Vodafone added that it expects that around 80 percent of all its anomalous mobile network issues and capacity demands to be automatically detected and addressed by the Anomaly Detection Service. The operator’s deal with Nokia, signed last year, complements its recent six-year agreement with Google Cloud to jointly build integrated cloud-based capabilities backed by hubs of networking and software engineering expertise.
Amid the exciting new developments in mobile technology, especially 5G, it is a good idea for mobile operators not to lose sight of fundamentals. With any type of network, poor or inconsistent service will cause customer dissatisfaction and render any high-tech bragging rights moot.
So while it is certainly commendable for MNOs to work on projects deploying cutting-edge technologies such as AI or ML to enable various non-traditional bells and whistles for consumers, there is something quite attractive and indeed logical in using ML to simply make sure that the network detects and quickly repairs its service issues as they arise. This way, subscriber confidence in an operator’s service will be high and remain high. Failure to attend to ordinary problems such as network congestion and latency issues stands to undo all the hard work that operators do, not to mention their investments.
Vodafone, as a major player in the telecom markets of multiple countries, is an excellent candidate for a large-scale ML-driven initiative to monitor and repair network issues in real time. Working with Nokia as technology partner and with Google as cloud service provider puts the operator in a very strong position to roll out a state-of-the-art solution and deploy it across markets, for the benefit of both its 4G/LTE and 5G networks.