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.
Huawei’s business performance in recent years has been impressive, based on sticking closely to what its customers wanted and making the results easy to buy. But fierce price competition will challenge near-term profit ambitions, and Huawei’s 5G vision is ahead of the market. So could things be about to change?
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.
In the first of two reports, STL Partners evaluates how several powerful forces, within and beyond the control of telcos, look set to change the shape of the European market and considers the options for how these forces might develop going forward.
A primary benefit envisaged of 5G networks is that latency (i.e. delay times for users) will be massively reduced. This would deliver major benefits for many applications providing that the software for those cloud-based applications is located near enough to the users at the edge of the network. This is likely to drive a massive change in the architecture of the cloud and the network industries. This report outlines likely scenarios and identifies some early moves that are starting to play out now.
5G. SDN/NFV. Gigabit cable. WiFi. IoT. Spectrum policy. Vendor consolidation. Despite carefully-constructed business cases for future network investment, the goal-posts are always moving, and even the best-laid plans face possible disruptions – positive or negative. To kick off our ‘Future of the Network’ research stream, we outlined the key questions determining the business case for future investments in the network. This is Part 2, which covers critical network-technology disruptions, the impact of government and regulation, and the shifting vendor landscape.
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.