In this update, we present data and analysis on progress with deployments of vRAN and open RAN. It is fair to say that open RAN (virtualised AND disaggregated RAN) deployments have not happened at the pace that STL Partners and many others had forecast. In parallel, some very significant deployments and developments are occurring with vRAN (virtualised NOT disaggregated RAN). Is open RAN a networking ideal that is not yet, or never will be, deployed in its purest form?
More telcos are making deals to run their VNFs on the public cloud. Not much is live yet. But cloud hosting of network functions will support telcos in realising the benefits of cloud-native, and we believe telcos can safely go further and faster.
Although telcos aren’t generally associated with disruption, many operators around the world have attempted to disrupt adjacent markets, such as digital commerce, entertainment and financial services. In some cases, telcos have even disrupted their core broadband and communications markets. While many of these moves have fizzled out or have flown below investors’ radar screens, several have had a major impact on both the telco’s revenues and relevance. These include SK Planet, M-Pesa, Au Smart Pass and BT Sport. Why do some disruptive moves by telcos succeed and others fail?