Andrew Burrell, head of business applications marketing for Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, told Mobile World Live the mobile industry was at a tipping point for employing AI, as the vendor publicised research showing growing use of the technology by the sector.

Research conducted for Nokia by Analysis Mason and published in April showed 87 per cent of operators surveyed had begun using AI in network operations, either as proof-of-concepts or full-blown deployments.

Of the 84 senior CSP executives Analysis Mason quizzed between September 2022 and November 2022, 57 per cent reported having developed AI use cases “to the point of production”, Nokia stated.

The survey found 43 per cent were either exploring or running AI use cases in trials.

More than 50 per cent implemented some AI elements in their networks to address the increased complexity associated with managing higher traffic volumes and the services.

Burrell told MWL AI offers benefits for any element involving network operations, customer experience and sustainability programmes.

“It’s worthwhile to pick one or two areas and focus on those before bridging out from there.”

“Sustainability is certainly one area where it’s easy to see the return on investment.”

Nokia noted almost 50 per cent of top operators cited challenges in data collection, with service providers unable to access network information due to running legacy systems with proprietary interfaces or alarms which choke the most advanced level of network automation.

The vendor asserted service providers must identify ways to improve data access to enable more AI use cases to boost operational efficiency and capture new revenue opportunities.

Burrell explained he believes it will take up to a year before generative AI models begin delivering a material impact for operators.