LIVE FROM HUAWEI’S GLOBAL MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2017, LONDON: Vodafone Group tapped artificial intelligence (AI) to move from a reactive network management approach to a more predictive method and is already seeing success in trials, its head of radio networks explained.

Francisco Martin Pignatelli (pictured) said looking at the areas where AI is being used, the key takeaway is it allows companies to move from incremental improvements to disruptive innovation: “So we thought, why not use [it] in the radio network and use all the data collected to train algorithms in specific situations?”

Working at the cell edge, which is where most of the problems are, he said initial results from a trial in Turkey using an AI algorithm “to get the most out of the network have been very promising”.

He said Vodafone is heading in the direction of using data at the Node B level to look at scheduling and modulation and make decisions in real time: “An entirely new world opens up, where we look at optimisation on what you can do not just from the network, but actually from user level actions,” Pignatelli said.

Using AI in the radio network is already happening, he noted: “We’re just at the beginning of exploring what is possible. It’s going to be very exciting. We think that thanks to AI our reactive mode can turn into predictive. That is one of our key bets in the radio space in the years to come.”