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Case Study: Huawei WTTx

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WTTx Suite Empowers Globe to achieve Home Broadband Success

With the advent of the digital era, universal broadband is viewed as a basic human right in many countries. ITU figures show that 164 nations already have national broadband plans in place to promote universal broadband penetration. The GSMA is committed to promoting the sustainable and rapid development of broadband services. This case study showcases success cases exploring how the WTTx Suite solution, as an innovative AI-based automation solution deployed by Globe, provides reliable wireless SLA evaluation and management and overcomes the high cost of rolling out wireless broadband service to bring significant OPEX savings to the operator.

Huawei has demonstrated the advantages of WTTx Suite in partnership with Globe, which has deployed the largest wireless broadband network in South Pacific quickly.

WTTx Suite is a valued solution application, a part of Mobile Broadband Automation Engine (MAE), released by Huawei. MAE is dedicated to accelerating autonomous driving in the mobile network with innovative architecture ‘Autonomy in layers and Coordination with openness’. WTTx Suite inherits the spirit of ‘taking complexity and creating simplicity’, helps to roll out wireless broadband service efficient and conveniently for both 4G and 5G networks.

Introduction

Globe Telecom, Inc. is the number one mobile company in the Philippines. It provides cellular, broadband and mobile data services, recognising the growing preference of customers towards content-rich offerings and multimedia applications that enrich the Filipino digital lifestyle. Globe creates wonderful experiences for people to have choices, overcome challenges, and discover new ways to enjoy life.

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

Business Imperative

The Philippine market had more than 22M unconnected households. Being an archipelago, FTTH rollout faces multiple roadblocks in the country.  However, Globe remains committed to providing quality and affordable internet services by leveraging in Wireless solutions, such as LTE and 5G FWA to connect more homes. Globe’s WTTx offers continuously dominate in the Philippine market for fixed wireless broadband services and now serves 50% of its At Home Postpaid customers. Theoretically, WTTx can quickly reach out to unconnected households but operators are facing great difficulties when they deploy WTTx services due to the following questions:

  • How to estimate the dynamic wireless environment?
  • How to guarantee the user experience?
  • How many WTTx household can be deployed based on current cell capacity?
  • What type of data package can be recommended to customers?
  • Who are the potential customers considering leaving the operator soon

WTTx Suite is an AI-based automation solution which is built to answer these questions and facilitate the deployment of WTTx solution. With the help of WTTx Suite, in Q1 2019, Globe’s wireless home broadband continued to grow and reach 1,071,451, a year-on-year increase of 44%. The number of wireless broadband users increases by 87K, compared with the last quarter, which is 16 times that of fixed broadband.

Globe, Huawei and WTTx Suite Solution

Launched in 2016, WTTx Suite is the industry’s 1st solution that enables E2E service automation and the solution behind Globe At Home Air. WTTx Suite is a solution that facilitates telecom operators in deploying/operating WTTx services. With pre-sale and post-sale evaluation, it helps operators to launch WTTx services quickly and to detect network congestion and user experience deterioration in a timely manner.

WTTx Suite pre-sale evaluation

Because of the dynamic wireless environment, conventionally, it’s difficult to accurately predict which areas can develop WTTx service and the throughput it can provide. The traditional way to do it is for the operators to implement drive test in the whole network (pre-sale coverage or capacity map) or even send engineers on-site to do signal test every time they need to install the WTTx CPE in the customers’ premises. It is a very time and human cost consuming process and above all, the accuracy is low due to the manual process.

Based on AI technology, WTTx Suite is able to provide a highly reliable pre-sale evaluation in terms of the location, package and CPE it can provide to customers based on coverage, throughput and resources of the network. By connecting with Globe’s Business and Operation Support System (BOSS), what the operator need to do is just input the name of the target address in the search box, and the pre-sale evaluation result can be shown automatically for customer to make the decision, including whether or not the address is able to provide WTTx service, what kinds of data package is available and what kinds of CPE are recommended.

Traditionally, it takes at least 51 hours for the customer to know whether their applied residence is serviceable, and the customer only brings home a piece of paper as proof of purchase until service is validated through a truck roll. Compared with the uncertainty and suffering before, now, front-liners in Globe stores can inform the customers within an hour about the Plan options with a 16% increase of the accuracy of service provisioning.

Besides, with the support of WTTx Suite pre-sale evaluation, the engineers don’t need to travel on-site to customers’ premises for coverage/throughput test and installation, which dramatically reduces the burden of travelling in the extreme weather, especially in South East Asia countries like Philippine, where the yearly average temperature is above 30°C. .

Figure 1. Three steps to service provisioning.

WTTx Suite post-sale evaluation

Network and CPE post-evaluation capabilities in WTTx Suite are clearly outlined in graphs and maps to enable more strategic network expansion planning and remote diagnosis. It can monitor real-time WTTx service and identify the potential issues in the network and with customers’ CPE, for example, if there is some congestion of WTTx service, how to balance the resource of WBB & MBB services in the same network and if the customers’ user experience is deteriorating due to coverage, throughput and interference issues.

By connecting with Globe’s BOSS system with open API, once receive the complaint call from the customers, the call centre can quickly identify the CPE’s RSRP & SINR and advises the customers to take proper actions (e.g., reboot the CPE). If the problem cannot be solved, the call centre can transfer the issue to the maintenance centre to check if there are issues in the relevant cells (e.g., capacity, interference). About 90% of the issues can be then solved through the coordination of WTTx Suite and only less than 10% of the issues need to send engineers on site which dramatically increase the efficiency.

Moreover, thanks for AI technologies, WTTx Suite is able to identify the potential customers who might leave the operator soon and take proactive care to improve user experience and minimize churn rate.

Economic Benefits

In the case of Huawei’s WTTx Suite solution, the substantial economic benefits can be achieved in the commercial network.

  1. Automatic Coverage and Capacity Map Update enable OPEX saving, WTTx Suite can output network coverage and capacity map automatically only 4-10 hours for the whole network while traditionally it will take 200-300 hours for 100 sites.
  2. Lower CPE Installation Cost, Plug & Play which takes benefits from ‘High accurate and reliable service provision’, enables customer can DIY the broadband service by themselves, so no need to arrange professional engineer to do door signal test and installation. Customer can ‘Set Up Your Postpaid Broadband service in a Snap’.
  3. No need for professional business hall staff. WTTx Suite can output accurate data package suggestion based on customer’s geo-location, reducing dependency on professional business hall staff.
  4. WTTx Suite provides post-sale evaluation, which can identify potential issues in the WTTx service, implement O&M proactively and effectively reduce churn rate.

For a typical network with 1 million WTTx users deployed with WTTx Suite, the TCO saving can be about $20 million.

Implementing the Solution

AI plays a pivotal role in the WTTx Suite solutions in both pre and post-sale stages.

In the pre-sale stage, to provide fast service provisioning, a precise WTTx Suite map is necessary based on cell capacity and virtual grid-level throughput.

First, customers setup the data package and related CPE types. Secondly, by simulation and collecting various data from the wireless network, the built-in AI engine use AI algorithm to build grid-level coverage & spectral efficiency characteristics database and implement the training of AI model, which includes the correlation between user-level characteristics, cell level characteristics and ML training target.

Thirdly, when a customers’ home address is searched and identified on the WTTx Suite map, the grid level characteristics are extracted and make the query from the spectral efficiency characteristic database built by AI and the grid level spectral efficiency can be predicted. Then, by obtaining the remaining RB resource, the grid level throughput capability can be calculated and the most suitable CPE can be selected automatically.

In the post-sale stage, the suspected churn user can be identified with AI technologies. First, history WTTx CPE log is extracted from WTTx Suite and if the CPE is not connected in a certain period of time, then it will be regarded as churn user. Secondly, church user model can be built with an AI algorithm by obtaining some characteristic from churn user CPE log and make the correlation with the churn users.  Thirdly, once the churn user model is built, the suspected churn user can be identified by querying the characteristics from the AI churn user model.

Challenges

Besides the network and AI/automation capabilities, another foundation of WTTx Suite solution is that based on Huawei MAE’s open architecture, it is able to coordinate with various systems of operators and 3rd parties with open APIs, for example, BOSS, network planning, network optimization, customer service systems, service hall and even web portals. Thus, various customers’ pre-sale and post-sale workflows can be linked together to enable end to end automation in different scenarios.

Globe co-developed Huawei’s WTTx Suite since 2016 and is now commercially integrated with Globe’s Enterprise Maps Application (GEMA) as front-end to complement in providing a fully DIY end-to-end experience through Globe At Home Air.

Figure 2.

Moreover, Huawei’s WTTx Suite can interact with WTTx network from other vendors and display coverage and capacity maps. It also compatible with TR-069 compliant CPEs from 3rd parties and can be managed easily through WTTx Suite.

One of the biggest challenges ahead is how WTTx Suite can build up its own ecosystem through standardized open APIs so its AI/automation capacities can be more open to operators and 3rd parties including vertical industries. One of the examples is that in some circumstances, a handset can develop for door to door salesperson which is connected to operators BOSS system, WTTx Suite and 3rd party systems, so the user ID identification, coverage/capacity evaluation, service provisioning, on-line payment, receipt certification can all be done within minutes on site.

Another example can be for WTTx Suite to interconnect with operators’ BOSS systems and to identify the high-value areas based on customers’ information, user traffic, xDSL penetration rate/throughput, etc. Thus, WTTx Suite is able to facilitate the operator’s precise investment for new customer acquisitions and network expansions. It can also suggest optimal data package based on customer location’s latest network conditions, allowing marketing and sales to right-size or upsell offers.

Conclusion

More than 50 operators currently have deployed WTTx Suite for their 4G networks all over the world. This has laid a solid foundation for 5G development and will speed up the service provisioning of FWA as the first commercial 5G business

With the joint effort of Globe and Huawei, WTTx Suite solution has demonstrated tremendous benefit as an AI-based automation solution to facilitate both pre-sale, post-sale evaluation, service provisioning, O&M and customer churn reduction. Together with substantial TCO reduction, the customers’ experience is increasing dramatically. All these contribute to the steady growth of Globe’s broadband numbers (a year-on-year increase of 22%). As broadband is increasingly considered as a basic universal service across the world, its importance is especially meaningful in terms of increasing people’s living standards and wellbeing