Vodafone and Google Cloud look to boost Europe's 5G

Mast in Strathconon
(Image credit: WHP Telecom)

Vodafone is working with Google Cloud build a cloud-based network performance platform that will change the way it builds and maintains its infrastructure across Europe.

Performance management tools are used by mobile operators for almost every single process. This includes capacity planning, network optimisation, customer experience, and 5G and edge computing services.

By simplifying its backend systems, acquiring more visibility over data, and the ability to action upon it more immediately, Vodafone believes it will be able to deliver more advanced and reliable mobile services to its customers.

Vodafone network planning

Vodafone Unified Performance Management (UPM) combines Google’s smart analytics, machine learning and AI capabilities with Cardinality.io’s telecom-specific services to collect and analyse billions of data points in 11 countries.

It replaces more than 100 separate network performance applications in 11 countries, providing all of its businesses with a single source of clean data that can be optimised and analysed using artificial intelligence (AI).

“As the needs of our 300 million plus mobile customers evolve so will our network using this new platform,” said Johan Wibergh, Vodafone chief technology officer. “It is a global data hub that gives us a real-time view of what is happening anywhere on our network, uses our global scale to manage traffic growth cheaper and more efficiently as customer data consumption grows by around 40% per year, and supports the full automation of our network by 2025.”

The insight gathered from this repository will be used to plan network construction more effectively, detect traffic patterns, and make decisions and changes to infrastructure within minutes rather than days.

For example, Vodafone will be able to add capacity and integrate network connectivity in response to major events or incidents, manage energy efficiency, and restore services more quickly after a natural disaster. Engineers will also be able to fix issues more rapidly, allowing its technology reams to resolve more problems without the need for human intervention and focus on projects that deliver real change for customers.

Finally, the insight and cost savings afforded by the UPM will allow Vodafone to focus its resources on areas where 5G is most needed.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.