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DTW23-Ignite: Leading global CSPs endorse TM Forum’s approach to autonomous networks

Dawn BushausDawn Bushaus
20 Sep 2023
DTW23-Ignite: Leading global CSPs endorse TM Forum’s approach to autonomous networks

DTW23-Ignite: Leading global CSPs endorse TM Forum’s approach to autonomous networks

Thirty telecommunications companies including more than a dozen of the world’s largest communications service providers (CSPs) have signed TM Forum’s Autonomous Networks (AN) Manifesto to accelerate the widespread adoption of ANs. Their aim is to accelerate network transformation and monetization, improve customer experience, and reduce opex.

These are consistently the main drivers of automation, as shown in the graphic below from TM Forum’s recent Digital Transformation Tracker 7 (DTT 7) report. By signing the manifesto, companies are agreeing to adopt a common vision of ANs that relies on predictive analytics and AI to determine which network resources are used to fulfill a customer’s business goals, with all complexity hidden from the customer. The goal is to automate the entire service lifecycle, from ordering to fulfillment, activation, orchestration, management, assurance, optimization and billing so that CSPs can orchestrate Zero-X (zero-touch, zero-wait and zero-trouble) services end to end across domains at scale.

AN article

TM Forum’s latest AN research report finds that the CSPs endorsing TM Forum’s work on AN collectively contribute 45% of worldwide telecoms revenue. This increasing level of commitment to AN from an early majority of CSPs represents a major milestone.

The 30 signatories are Accenture, AIS, Amdocs, China Mobile, China Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, Ericsson, Futurewei, Huawei, IBM, Inspur, Intraway, Iquall Networks, Makman Technology Consulting, Microsoft, MTN Group, Netcracker, Nokia, NTT, Orange, SAS, Telecom Argentina, Telefonica, Telenor, Telkomsel, TTG International, UBiqube, Verizon, Wipro and Zain.

These companies are rapidly accelerating the implementation and development of TM Forum’s AN architecture, which is aligned with the Open Digital Architecture (ODA). Key to their vision is using intent in ANs, closed-loop-control, Open APIs and self-healing domains to accelerate the adoption of network automation. The ODA is a component-based approach that defines standardized, interoperable software components organized into loosely coupled domains. These components expose business services through Open APIs, which are built on a common data model.

CSP signatories will also adopt the Autonomous Networks Levels Evaluation Methodology to assess current and future levels of network automation. The vendors have committed to building and marketing their products and capabilities in a manner consistent with the AN architecture, APIs and AN Levels.

Accelerating the AN journey

Major CSPs around the world are already making significant progress on their AN journeys. For example:

  • AIS, which boasts 46% market share in mobile broadband in Thailand, is using the ODA and AN Framework along with its own enterprise architecture design principles to define its AN Level 3 target architecture.
  • China Mobile is “targeting Level 4 by 2025 for almost all the services that we are currently providing and that we are expecting to deliver in the coming years”, according to Dr. Lingli Deng, who characterizes the company’s AN implementation as “the largest-scale production autonomous network practice ever”. The company is adopting a “cross-layer approach” that relies on the ODA and Open APIs.
  • MTN Group is implementing AN as part of its Ambition 2025 Strategy. All MTN operating companies are aligned with the company’s AN strategy and target architecture, which is based on TM Forum’s AN Framework, and are using TM Forum’s AN levels and evaluation methodology.
  • Orange has used TM Forum’s Autonomous Networks Business Requirements and Framework as part of its strategic target to automate network operations and maximize the value of its network infrastructure. It is measuring AN transformation using TM Forum’s AN levels, aiming to achieve Level 4 for some processes by 2025 and is putting in place group-wide initiatives to deliver new on-demand network services, operating in network-as-a-service mode. This will create new business opportunities and strengthen the resilience and security of its networks by allowing faster operations. In addition, Orange believes greater automation will help the company to reduce network power consumption by up to 20%.
  • Telefónica launched a program called Autonomous Network Journey (ANJ) in 2021 to increase autonomy and transform its architecture, management of data, and organizational structure to support AN. The strategy is being applied in all operating companies in Europe and Latin America. The company methodology for calculating the percentage of automation and its level of autonomy has been defined based on TM Forum’s methodology.

Read these reports and TM Forum’s latest AN journey guide to learn more:

Leveling up: achieving level 3 autonomous networks and beyond https://inform.tmforum.org/research-and-analysis/reports/leveling-up-achieving-level-3-autonomous-networks-and-beyond

Autonomous Networks: Empowering digital transformation – evolving from Level 2/3 towards Level 4


Digital Transformation Tracker 7: cutting complexity with automation and AI


“We strongly believe the network operating model needs to change dramatically to support new, agile business opportunities and leverage the full capabilities of 5G SA, slicing, cloud, edge and network-as-a-service,” said Laurent Leboucher, Group CTO and Senior Vice President of Orange Innovation Networks, Orange. “We have started our journey to achieve level 4 autonomy on two key processes: deployment and fault monitoring and maintenance. It's an exciting journey for our team and partners to address the related challenges, reach the automation target and bring value for our customers.”

“Telefónica launched its Autonomous Network Journey (ANJ) in 2021. The goal is to strive for autonomy across the whole network and IT lifecycle, changing dramatically the current architecture, the way we manage data, the way we do things and the way we are organized,” said Enrique Blanco, Global CTIO, Telefónica. “It is a complete revamp of our ways of working but always keeping in the center our customers, security and sustainability. We fully embrace the common vision presented in the AN Manifesto to rapidly accelerate the implementation and development of TM Forum’s ODA-aligned AN architecture.”

ANs in action

To help members on their AN journeys, TM Forum has launched an end-to-end implementation toolkit for CSPs. It draws on operators’ best practices for deploying and managing AN operations, which are delivering impressive results. For example, China Mobile’s best practices are helping the company build the world’s largest private 5G network for CATL, a battery supplier headquartered in Fujian, China. The project has resulted in more than $14 million dollars in business growth for CATL. Similarly, MTN Group’s best practices for its all-optical AN have improved network reliability to 99.999% and reduced troubleshooting time from 8 hours to just 15 minutes.

To demonstrate its commitment to ANs, TM Forum is showcasing 19 AN Catalyst proofs of concept at DTW23 - Ignite in Copenhagen. More than 70 companies are participating in the projects, which act as an accelerator to complement the R&D efforts of the organizations involved.

Several “Moonshot” Catalysts are showing how automation can help CSPs reduce energy consumption and operating expenses while improving performance. For example, the Green and efficient radio access networks – championed by China Mobile, Orange, Telenor Group, Verizon and Vodafone Group – is focusing on the following objectives:

  • Improvement in RAN equipment energy consumption up to 20% based on different configuration profiles
  • Vendor-agnostic AI framework automation in near real time to deliver 5% to 10% savings over standard features
  • Demonstration of vendor APIs that allow algorithms to cater to different customers’ needs across base stations
  • Multiband, high-gain antenna solutions delivering 15% power consumption savings.

Read this report to learn more:

The sustainable telco: engineering networks for net zero:


More information about the Moonshot projects can be found here. To learn more about all the Catalysts focusing on AN, visit this webpage and select Autonomous Networks as a topic.

To find out more about TM Forum’s AN Manifesto, Catalysts or AN Toolkit, visit the TM Forum Industry Showcase stand at DTW23 – Ignite, or visit this webpage.