The Big Managed Services Shift

By Jeremy Ladner 6 min read

The telecom industry is going through a massive change that will fundamentally reshape how network operators deliver services to their customers – are you ready?

We all know about the infrastructure challenges, upgrades, and cell site densification that 5G demands. What very few people are talking about is the scarcity of skilled workers required to support 5G operations and the requisite shift towards a new breed of flexible open Network Services.

Up until recently, operators that wanted to outsource their network operations were reluctant to commit to massive multi-year managed services contracts with all-encompassing end-to-end service plans. Thankfully that is no longer required. Outsourcing Managed Network Services today is all about flexibility and partnering with best-of-breed service providers that focus on broader business outcomes rather than narrowly defined technical KPIs.

The Answer is Outsourcing

The push toward a more flexible form of Managed Network Services (MNS) started a few years back as the global pandemic caused many network operators to search for OPEX savings by reducing staff. The bottom-line benefits were immediate. But, as you might expect, the personnel deficit quickly impacted operators’ ability to stay competitive.

Sue Marek, contributing editor for Fierce Wireless put it simply “wireless operators are reducing head counts so that they can cut costs. But on the other hand, they are desperately trying to hire in areas where they lack expertise… finding qualified workers is an issue for every part of the wireless industry.”

How can network operators complete their 5G rollouts, manage their networks efficiently, and deliver on the growing list of advanced services that customers demand, all with shrinking resources?

The answer is obvious – outsource.

The Benefits of Best-of-Breed

In December of 2021, GlobalData surveyed dozens of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) asking them if they planned to replace their Network Services partners in one or more areas, and a whopping 42% responded yes. When asked if they planned to add service partners to handle new strategic areas 53% answered yes!

This trend continues to pick up momentum as the outsourced managed services market opens up. Large vendors are recognizing that if they don’t disaggregate their offerings, they will jeopardize losing clients altogether.

Smaller, specialized Managed Network Service vendors are continuing to enter the market. Operators are happy to finally have access to a new buffet of best-of-breed vendors that offer open service contracts with more flexible engagement models.

Partnering with the right Managed Network Services provider delivers more than just predictable costs and scalable solutions. It allows operators to focus on their core competency while leveraging the on-demand expertise and resources they need to continue to grow their business.

Better Partners – Better Business Outcomes

The same GlobalData survey cited earlier asked participants if they believed that their managed services /operations partners had a direct impact on top-level business goals. 85% of respondents saw a positive impact on Digital Transformation and Cloudification. Another 81% saw a positive impact on their Net Promoter Score/Customer Experience. While 73% reported a positive impact on revenue growth. OPEX and CAPEX reductions, the ability to add new features, and faster time-to-market also topped the list of business benefits associated with picking the right partner.

Network operators across all markets and verticals now recognize the benefits of strategic Managed Network Service partnerships. The ability to easily ramp up resources and leverage teams of outsourced specialists enables new levels of flexibility and agility. Business leaders eager for a competitive edge see these partnerships as the perfect way to handle the growing capacity and coverage demands.

From short-term rollout & deployment projects that require wireless technicians and tower climbers to the ongoing management of outsourced Network Operations Centers (NOC) staffed with experienced network engineers, MNS partnerships provide skilled workers, flexible solutions, and predictable costs for operators.

How to Pick the Right Partners

Whether you’re interested in adding new services or expanding existing capacity and coverage, there is a Managed Network Service partner out there that can help you reach your objective. A few areas you’ll likely want to focus on when shopping for a partner are:

  1. Specialized experience

  2. Flexibility in the solutions offered

  3. Agility when it comes to problem-solving

It’s also worth considering a prospective partner’s ability to provide predictive and preventive analysis. Identifying network issues early before they turn into problems can save on maintenance, prevent network downtime, and increase revenue by reducing customer churn.

A key reason for the success of Ceragon’s Managed Network Services is the combination of our Team, Technique, and Technology. With years of hands-on experience planning, deploying, operating, and maintaining mobile transport networks, Ceragon’s team is flexible and quick to adapt, navigating around challenges that might otherwise knock out a network novice. Our transport network management techniques are comprised of tried and tested methodologies that easily integrate with your existing processes.

Add all that to our suite of proprietary in-house software tools that feature unique predictive and preventive analytics capabilities, and you have the makings of a Managed Network Services partnership with nearly limitless potential.


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