STL Insights

Snapshots from our analyst team's latest research

Apple Glass: AR headsets timeline and impact on telecoms networks (chart)

In the Coordination Age, smart glasses could play a major role in boosting productivity. They would enable people to access information (hands-free) exactly when and where they need it. Over time, white-collar workers could benefit from being able to see 3D images of everything from architectural plans to colleagues on the other side of the world. Smart glasses could also …

Building a telco edge infrastructure: MEC, Private LTE and vRAN (chart)

We predict a Tier-1 operator will have more than 8,000 edge servers by 2025, supporting edge workloads across multiple domains. vRAN is unique among the use-cases we have modelled because it is an evolution of a core service. Private LTE, vCDN and MEC all involve connectivity, but represent new service offerings, for which the operator must attract new, primarily enterprise …

STL classics: The original Telco 2.0 two-sided business model (chart)

Since 2011, through the Telco 2.0 vision (our shorthand for ‘what a future telco should look like’), STL Partners has argued that telcos need to make fundamental changes to their business models in response to the commoditisation of connectivity and the ‘softwarisation’ of all industries, including telecoms. The debate around whether telcos should try complement connectivity with other services is …

The open RAN: Disaggregated and flexible (chart)

Introducing RAN architecture   Three layers of Open RAN There are now many distinct technologies and standards emerging in the radio access space that involve a shift away from traditional, proprietary radio hardware and network architectures, driven by single vendors, towards new, virtualised platforms and a more open vendor ecosystem. We have adopted ‘the open RAN’ as an umbrella term …

Partnering on telco edge computing: Hyperscalers’ edge strategy (chart)

Partnering on telco edge computing: Hyperscalers’ edge strategy (chart)

Hyperscalers are moving rapidly to expand their presence at the edge and create and exploit different opportunities. By 2018, Google, AWS and Microsoft Azure launched their stacks that support on-premise deployment and extend their services to hybrid cloud environments. Namely, Google Anthos, AWS Outposts and Azure Stack. Within the last year, all these hyperscalers have released versions of their solutions …

COVID-19 impacts on enterprise services and verticals (chart)

COVID-19 impacts on enterprise services and verticals (chart)

Source: STL Partners, based on a survey of 202 respondents (including operators, vendors and telco experts) between 21st April and 8th May 2020 STL Partners’ research into the impact of COVID-19 on telco enterprise expectations indicates that respondents are optimistic regarding enterprise services. Their view as to how specific enterprise verticals will fare is more divergent. Most respondents agree that …

AT&T placed a big bet on advertising, but can it pay off? (charts)

Content and ad tech investments drive AT&T’s advertising revenues up Source: AT&T Q4 2018 earnings report In June 2018, AT&T acquired Time Warner for US$109 billion and established its WarnerMedia unit (including Warner Brothers Studios and Turner Channels). The purchase quadrupled its advertising inventory, which was further extended with the purchase of a controlling stake in Otter Media (valued at …

Network intelligence and the emergence of the NSAPs

STL Partners conducted research, supported by Altran, into the emergence of a new category of services that are increasingly important to enable the next generation of network dependent services. In this article, we detail our findings. There is a resurgent interest in applications interfacing with networks With the advent of 5G, NFV and cloud native networking technologies there is a …

Edge computing: Comparing priorities for app developers in retail, AR/VR, video and drones

Edge computing: Comparing priorities for app developers in retail, AR/VR, video and drones (chart)

To understand what edge computing developers need from telcos in order to develop the market, STL Partners interviewed seven start-ups from four key domains about their experience exploring edge computing. Each application developer was at a different stage of exploring edge computing and had been working with different types of edges. Our research focus was primarily on telecom edge (compute …

COVID impact on 5G network priority

COVID-19 impacts on network development priorities (chart)

Source: STL Partners, based on a survey of 202 respondents (including operators, vendors and telco experts) between 21st April and 8th May 2020 Research by STL Partners indicates that telecoms industry respondents believe COVID-19 would positively impact the priority given to network development in the near term, with the possible exception of 5G. Increased emphasis on network resilience, fibre and …

How to build trust in a self-healing network

AI in network operations: How do you build trust in a self-healing network?

One of the key challenges in the shift towards more autonomous networks is ensuring trust in the AI models supporting automation, especially for the network engineers who will still remain accountable for network performance even when they are relying on automated and intelligent systems. The goal of a self healing / self-optimising network is to monitor the network in real-time, …

5G-aliser August update: An ever-changing landscape

The latest update of the 5G-aliser, created in collaboration shows that August has been a somewhat positive month’s for the world of 5G – at least, compared to July! A handful of key drivers and making steady progress, many of which are digging themselves out from the slump they have found themselves in in previous months, such as spectrum availability. However, …

Percentage of consumers willing to purchase cybersecurity from their service provider

Telco opportunity in consumer cybersecurity (chart)

Source: STL Partners survey of 1100+ consumers globally, conducted in April-May 2020. Details of survey participants are included in the accompanying report. Our consumer survey found that the majority of consumers are willing to purchase cybersecurity services from their broadband provider and that, across consumer segments, there is a willingness to pay for security coverage beyond basic malware prevention. Operators …

5G core virtualisation is not aligned with wider telco cloud strategies

The goals of 5G core virtualisation are not aligned with wider telco cloud strategies

5G needs virtualisation. In relation to the mobile packet core, specifically, there are four main reasons for this: Scalability: to enable the capacity of the mobile core to be scaled up flexibly and dynamically to support rapidly growing data volumes Cost: the replacement of dedicated hardware appliances supporting network functions by Virtual Machines (VMs) – and other modes of Virtualised …

Typical network cost splits of active RAN sharing vs no RAN sharing

Typical network cost splits of active RAN sharing vs no RAN sharing (chart)

The largest part of the costs of building and operating a mobile network are in the radio access network (RAN). In 5G, where higher frequencies, especially in the mmWave bands, have limited reach, the cost implications of deploying more base stations will be significant. For example, based on our research into the cost breakdown across networks and IT for the …

Strategic options for telco-owned apps

Strategic options for telco-owned apps (chart)

Based on analysis of successful telco-run mobile apps, the starting point for success is delivering customer care and loyalty offerings to secure sufficient customer engagement. Following from this, telcos can evolve their apps into broader platforms – or cross-sell other telco apps – pursuing one of two alternative routes: Helping customers to manage their daily lives (e.g. by providing services …

Five viable business models for operators in edge computing

Five viable business models for operators in edge computing (chart)

The potential business model for operators varies depending on the operator’s existing capabilities and their levels of commitment to invest in the edge market. STL Partners has identified five key roles operators can play in the edge computing market. Telcos have opportunities at the edge but considering the strong competition, it’s crucial for them to leverage their early entry to …