STL Partners

Telco 2.0 Growth & Innovation

Mobile NGN - a Real Telco 2.0 Opportunity?

The 60 page document "Next-Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Beyond HSPA and EVDO", provides a technical requirements framework for vendors.

To be clear, what’s defined is just a technology toolkit. Different carriers may deploy it in different ways with varying business models and services. Until we see the business models, jubilation or damnation is premature. Nonetheless, this is an extremely important document. The “walled gardens” of 3G are starting to look like weed patches, and this is a rare chance to define a truly new Telco 2.0 approach that takes the best of the Internet and traditional telecoms models.

I’m quite pleased by the sense and clarity of the document. It avoids wild flights of fancy about sophisticated combinatorial services, and focuses on practical implementation concerns of mobile broadband. It rightly sees the mobile ecosystem as a co-evolution of devices, access and services. This offers a valid and viable parallel/alternative path to the fragmented and sometimes chaotic Internet approach. It’s clear about what generic classes of service are to be offered, and what tradeoffs are likely to be acceptable. The document also outlines a very much evolutionary approach: business-as-usual, only faster and cheaper.

And therein lie the big questions:
* Does it go far enough in addressing the forces tugging apart network access, services and devices?
* Does it react to the counter-forces that would push them back together in order to address deep architectural issues of IP and the Internet (such as weak security and low efficiency)?

Our answer based on our reading is “maybe, if deployed right” — but you need to be a bit of a Kremlinologist to read between the lines and think about what’s left unsaid.

Members of the Telco 2.0 Executive Briefing Service and Future of the Networks Stream click here to read more.