Why and how to go telco cloud native: AT&T, DISH and Rakuten

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As telecoms operations become increasingly softwarised, network functions are getting broken down into their individual parts, and reassembled as an essential part of the IT stack for industry-specific applications and services. In this disaggregated telco value chain, is there anything left that is distinctively ‘telco’?


Format: PDF filePages: 39 pagesCharts: 12Author: David MartinPublication Date: September 2021

Table of contents

  • Executive Summary
    • Three critical success factors for Coordination Age telcos
    • What capabilities will remain distinctively ‘telco’?
    • Our take on three pioneering cloud-native telcos
  • Introduction
    • The telco business is being disaggregated
    • Telco disaggregation is a by-product of computerisation
  • The disaggregated telco landscape: Where’s the value for telcos?
    • Is there anything left that is distinctively ‘telco’?
    • The ‘core’ telecoms business has evolved from delivering ubiquitous communications to enabling ubiquitous computing
    • Six telco-specific roles for telecoms remain in play
  • Radical telco disaggregation in action: AT&T, DISH and Rakuten
    • Servco, netco or infraco – or a patchwork of all three?
    • AT&T Network Cloud sell-off: Desperation or strategic acuity?
    • DISH Networks: Building the hyperscale network
    • Rakuten Mobile: Ecommerce platform turned cloud-native telco, turned telco cloud platform provider
  • Conclusion

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Transformation from the vertical telco to the disaggregated telco
  • Figure 2: Evolution of physical telecoms network elements (Layers 0 and 1 in OSI hierarchy)
  • Figure 3: The evolution of logical telecoms network functions (Layers 2–4 in the OSI hierarchy)
  • Figure 4: The evolution of services delivered over telco networks
  • Figure 5: New competitors emerging in each telecoms age
  • Figure 6: Services are driving the evolution from end-to-end physical networks, to seamlessly bridged virtual and physical worlds
  • Figure 7: Six telco USPs in the communications and IT value chains
  • Figure 8: The disaggregated telco stack
  • Figure 9: The standard, low-expectation telco
  • Figure 10: AT&T – the cloud-less, cloud-native telco
  • Figure 11: DISH – 5G network as hyperscaler edge
  • Figure 12: The model Coordination Age telco – but still in beta mode

Keywords: 5G, 5G standalone, AT&T, AWS, Azure, business models, Cloud, cloud-native, CNF, Coordination age, Devops, disaggregation, DISH, nfv, open RAN, physical network functions, Rakuten, RAN, SDN, Telco, telco cloud, towercos, vertical, Virtualisation

Companies & technologies covered: AT&T, AWS, Azure, DISH, Rakuten