Artificial intelligence is increasingly touted as having a critical role to play in 5G networks, though the specifics of the 5G-AI relationship are often left ambiguous or masked with jargon in corporate announcements. But that’s not the case for 5G network hardware maker Nokia, which today announced AVA 5G Cognitive Operations, offering AI-as-a-service so mobile carriers can optimize their 5G networks and enterprise services.

The key to AVA 5G’s AI is the application of machine learning and data science to historic cloud and operator experience data, enabling carriers to forecast future 5G network and service failures up to seven days before they happen. Carriers have access to nearly real-time impact correlation and analysis tools, as well as a library of viable AI use cases. Nokia claims that AVA 5G’s forecasts are highly precise and accurate, enabling automated responses that have resolved test users’ failures up to 50% faster, cut customer complaints by 20%, and reduced the need for site visits by 10%.

Beyond improving overall network performance and meeting service level agreement (SLA) commitments, carriers will be able to use the new AI service to more efficiently create network slices, eventually offering separate SLA guarantees for different users. In other words, while one customer may be guaranteed 99.99% uptime for vehicle or factory automation, another may get a different guarantee for comparatively lower-priority network traffic.

Nokia expects the full end-to-end AVA 5G Cognitive Operations solution to be available in the second quarter of this year and plans to deliver it to customers based on smaller payments for periodic usage or outcomes, rather than as an expensive upfront solution. The service will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology for its underpinnings while supporting other public and private cloud options.