Royi Benyossef

9 November 2020

4 min read

The rollout of 5G promises many improvements to the consumer experience, which means mobile network operators (MNOs) and equipment vendors have been working for many years to develop and deploy new 5G technologies, phones, and cell sites.

As the industry begins to adopt this new standard, the entire ecosystem needs to meet the challenge that comes with the complexity and scale of managing an increasingly connected world.

Deploying this technology at scale requires dramatically changing how networks are operated. Efficiently managing the network with automation at its heart will be key to a successful 5G transformation. MNOs must also take into account the reality of managing cross-vendor interoperability.

Thanks to the growing adoption of open network standards, the stage is set for MNOs to break away from some of what is currently weighing them down -- i.e., vendor lock-in, as well as complex and often disconnected systems for automation.

We believe it is important for telecom operators to be able to work across vendors in order to deliver customers the best service possible. This is why Samsung Next invested in Cellwize’s most recent funding round, and why we are excited to help the company bridge the gaps between vendors by providing a single platform that all can use efficiently and effectively.

To see why we believe Cellwize will play a pivotal role in the future of telecommunications, you must first understand why the industry is in serious need of disruption.

Breaking down telco silos

While some MNOs manage multi-vendor networks, most operate multiple single-vendor networks in different markets that co-exist at a distance. Because those networks are siloed and not tied to one another, these MNOs are paying the price of operating a complex multi-vendor environment without getting the operational benefits of doing so.

While an MNO might want to adopt the most competitive solutions, both price-wise and feature-wise, often the technical overhead required to manage a multi-vendor site means that the status quo wins over innovation and competitiveness. The engineering headache created by working with multiple vendors causes MNOs to effectively remain locked into working with incumbent vendors.

The result is that MNOs are less competitive, unable to adopt new innovations outside an existing vendor’s tech stack, and unlikely to leverage best-of-breed approaches -- even though in most cases the technology and standards have matured to a level that would otherwise make it possible.

Beyond the sheer growth in scale and rate of site deployments that 5G brings with it, we also see a shift towards virtualized network functions. This means the network will evolve more rapidly and further drive operators to adopt dynamic, network-wide automation, especially for vendor-mixed networks.

We see Cellwize at the center of this transformation and believe it will play a big role in helping to break down these silos and enable MNOs to offer more innovative and competitive solutions to their customers.

Cellwize at a Glance
  • 15 million network configuration changes per day around the globe
  • 4.5 Petabytes of RAN data processed/month
  • 50 million automatic network decisions
  • 1 billion API calls per month per customer
  • 3 million cell sites automatically managed by CHIME
The next generation of automation and orchestration

With many years of experience in managing telecommunication network operations, Cellwize offers a powerful platform called CHIME that will enable MNOs to reduce the complexity of their growing networks and leverage smart automation to power their operations.

Cellwize CEO, Ofir Zemer, and his team have been in the business of developing cutting-edge and innovative solutions for network management and optimization. Having built a centralized self-organizing network solution (cSON) to unify the architecture of network equipment, the team has an intimate understanding of the challenges facing their customers. Their hands-on experience in managing those systems at scale has helped them to deliver the CHIME radio access network (RAN) automation platform.

As a multi-faceted platform that already manages more than 3 million cell sites for Tier 1 customers worldwide, CHIME is a unifying solution that encompasses the entire network management lifecycle and simplifies network automation and orchestration. It works by ingesting raw data from internal and external sources and applies machine learning algorithms to address vendor-specific needs. It then harnesses this data for orchestrating the network, making it possible to automate changes as needed and ensure services run as expected.

It includes solutions for everything from:

  • CHIME Deployer - Automates the deployment and configuration of 5G networks
  • CHIME Designer - Configures radio access networks (RANs) that helps to plan and enforce network parameters
  • CHIME Optimizer - Dynamically addresses traffic demand by improving coverage and capacity
  • CHIME Assurer - Automates fault management and operations end-to-end
  • CHIME streamer - Collecting, democratizes, and enriches data for various needs

And perhaps most interestingly, CHIME Developer, which will allow for the creation of new apps and algorithms that customers can connect to via open APIs. This will bring MNOs one step closer to being more open to innovation from developers outside their existing vendor ecosystem.

The impact of being open

By creating this open architecture, Cellwize can now offer a platform that will allow network engineers to control components from all vendors in a single environment.

This has the potential to shift the balance of power away from telco vendors and over to the MNOs and their partners. From a business perspective, this means that MNOs will have more leverage in negotiations with vendors, since they can now more easily and reliably work with multiple partners.

On the engineering side, it will allow the MNOs to get closer to the promise of a cross-vendor friendly environment that 5G evangelists have been unable to deliver up to this point.

We view the Cellwize team’s track record of providing proven solutions in this space as a critical reason why we joined them as an investor.

The CHIME platform not only allows MNOs to operate networks efficiently, but its agnostic, single-view approach is more cost-effective and manageable than the alternative. By enabling new features, third-party apps, and other additions to be built on top of its platform, Cellwize levels the playing field and paves the way for broader competition and a true best-in-breed solution to emerge.