Building telco edge infrastructure: MEC, Private LTE and VRAN

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Edge infrastructure deployment is happening – but how big will it really be, and where will it happen? We quantify the five-year outlook for edge deployments across four key domains.


Format: PDF filePages: 31 pagesCharts: 14Author: Tilly GilbertPublication Date: August 2020

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Preface
  • Reality check: edge computing is not yet mature, and much is still to be decided
    • Reality #1: Organisationally, operators are still divided
    • Reality #2: The edge ecosystem is evolving fast
    • Reality #3: Operators are trying to predict, respond to and figure out what the “new normal” will be post COVID-19
  • Edge computing: key terms and definitions
    • Where is “the edge”?
    • What applications & use cases will run at edge sites?
    • What is inside a telco edge site?
  • How edge will play out: 5-year evolution
    • Modelling exercise: converting hype into numbers
    • Our findings: edge deployments won’t be very “edgy” in 2024
    • Short-term adoption of vRAN is the driving factor
    • New revenues from MEC remain a longer-term opportunity
    • Short-term adoption is focused on efficient operations, but revenue opportunity has not been dismissed
  • Addressing the edge opportunity: operators can be more than infrastructure providers
  • Conclusions: practical recommendations for operators

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: We predict a Tier-1 operator will have more than 8,000 edge servers by 2025, supporting edge workloads across multiple domains
  • Figure 2: There is uncertainty as to the impact of COVID-19 on operator’s edge computing and telco cloud initiatives
  • Figure 3: There is a spectrum of edge infrastructure in which telcos may invest
  • Figure 4: There are three key types of telco edge site, ranging in size, location & type
  • Figure 5: Most operators see vCDN as a means of increasing network efficiency, but there are revenue opportunities too
  • Figure 6: Use cases that fit in the edge sweet spot will have both local-compute like and cloud-like requirements
  • Figure 7: Use cases leveraging telecoms edge infrastructure can be either internal or external facing
  • Figure 8: Most edge servers, regardless of operator type, will be on the inner edge
  • Figure 9: vRAN is an inner edge (fairly centralised) play
  • Figure 10: vRAN will dominate edge infrastructure deployments…
  • Figure 11: MEC is the primary short-term revenue-generating edge opportunity
  • Figure 12: Incumbent MEC dominance driven by fibre to enterprise premises
  • Figure 13: It is not clear which parties will be the primary player in edge hardware and platforms, though there is a role for operators in all scenarios
  • Figure 14: There are a range of viable business models for operators with edge computing

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 5G, edge, edge computing, edge deployment, edge infrastructure, infrastructure, MEC, Multi-access edge computing, network edge, network infrastructure, Private LTE, Private LTE networks, telco cloud, telco edge, vCDN, Virtual content delivery networks, Virtual radio access networks, vRAN