While 5G continues to occupy 90% of the industry’s focus, Wi-Fi is quietly entrenching its role for consumers, especially in the home. It is central to media consumption and domestic IoT. In its 20th anniversary year, how will the new WiFi6 – along with whole-home meshes – make it even harder to displace? And how should telcos and others play?
After considerable hype and uncertainty, the near term developments for 5G are now much more apparent, including which nations will go first, chip and handset availability, and the use of different spectrum bands.
Indoor wireless coverage is essential to many IoT and 5G use-cases, but it’s also horribly difficult to achieve. With new entrants and changing user demands the power dynamics are shifting, and operators need to make strategic decisions now to avoid losing their stake in this market.
Facebook set up the Telecom Infra Project in 2016 to drive open source standards in core telecoms hardware and network operations. In this report we examine the implications of this project for telcos and other industry players, and recommend how they should respond.
In our first analysis on 4G take-up in Europe, we found common success factors relating to how operators had rolled out their networks. In our latest analysis, looking at 30 countries in the APAC region, we identify what market characteristics drive or inhibit 4G adoption, and which countries are likely to grow fast now and why.
MEC (Mobile / Multi-Access Edge Computing) puts compute resources at the edge of telco networks. These servers can be used for distributing internal network functions – typically linked with NFV deployments – or made available to third-party developers as part of an “edge cloud” service offering. What are the realistic use cases, and can telcos monetise them?
As mobile markets become increasingly competitive, telcos are looking at mobile content plays as a way to differentiate their offerings. The mobile content proposition is finally coming into its own, as the spread of 4G networks means high bandwidth demand uses such as video streaming are becoming a reality.
But mobile operators have traditionally offered very little in the way of content. So how should they approach a content play, and more importantly how can they use content to grow mobile ARPU to replace dwindling revenues as voice and SMS declines?
VoLTE solves the complex problem of providing voice services over a 4G mobile data network. Although it may allow 2G and 3G networks to be turned off, and their spectrum re-farmed to other networks, declining call revenues (and in some cases declining volumes) are dampening appetite to invest in VoLTE. However, with voice beyond telephony on the rise, for example through AI-powered voice assistants and video calling, can telcos use VoLTE as an opportunity to develop new IP-based voice and messaging communications offerings?
Network Slicing is a way to run multiple networks on one infrastructure. In theory, it could mean that telcos could run mobile broadband and IoT networks over the same physical network, and also offer greater agility within those networks. We explore the theory and its challenges, examine use cases, what would be needed to make it happen, and look at five business case scenarios.
The evolution of eSIMs, supporting remote provisioning of mobile operators’ profiles, could allow new IoT devices and business-models to thrive. However, the promise is countered by fears that eSIM could enable Internet companies and device manufacturers to become connectivity gatekeepers. We analyse the threats, opportunities and practicalities, and give our view of the likely outcomes.
This report explores how Net Neutrality legislation has evolved significantly, looking at the general shape and specifics in the EU, US, India, Brazil and other territories. In general telcos can differentiate some aspects of broadband access with pricing or “specialized services”, but Internet app-blocking or paid-priority are disallowed. While legal challenges are ongoing, the way ahead seems much clearer, and we explore how telcos should focus on and enable interesting non-Internet connectivity opportunities around 5G, NFV and IoT.
5G was one of the dominant topics at MWC 2016, and a key theme was the push by many infrastructure vendors and chipset manufacturers to bring forward the timeline for development of an early version of 5G. Some leading operators are also stepping up to support this vision. Fortunately, the “early 5G” group’s wish-list is relatively simple: it’s about capacity, cost, and carbon dioxide.
As LTE adoption passes 50% in North America and 9% worldwide, we review the operators who did best and worst and draw conclusions for the mass adoption phase of 4G. The analysis provides a valuable template for all players in the 4G race, and has important implications for plans for 5G.
The last few years have seen attempts by many leading telecoms operators to refresh their business model and generate new sources of growth and value. Now many digital initiatives are being scaled back. Telefonica and Telenor, two companies in the vanguard of the ‘drive to digital’ have both disbanded their digital organisations. In the first of two reports, STL Partners explores why efforts to yoke platform and product innovation businesses to a traditional infrastructure business have proved so difficult. The financial and operational constraints associated with traditional telecoms – particularly the need for long investment cycles in ‘one-function’ infrastructure – have made achieving the switch to ‘agile digital innovation’ all but impossible. But all that may be about to change and the future could be a little brighter.
It’s reasonably clear that standard cellular networks will only carry a fraction of the data of the Internet of Things (IoT), but how should telcos be involved in the fast growing range of low cost, disruptive networks that will carry the bulk? We examine the alternatives and outline strategic options.
Enthusiasm for creating novel so-called “digital” services is pervasive in the telecoms industry. There is a major shift afoot in the way telcos create, integrate, sell and manage value-added propositions. But how much is enabled by – or dependent on – the network itself? In recent years, most investment has been solely for improved connectivity, but there are signs that future network capex might drive new service opportunities directly, rather than just by empowering 3rd parties.
The network is one of telcos’ key assets. The case for investing in it was once straightforward: the bigger and faster the better. Yet today, many forces are combining to cloud that picture, such as virtualisation, regulation, the success of Internet services, network sharing, market consolidation and in some cases saturation, to name a few. To kick off our ‘Future of the Network’ research stream, we outline the key questions determining future investments in the network and our forthcoming work to address them. In Part 2, we’ll outline the key disruptive forces on the network.