Telco cloud made big promises for the transformation of telecoms. It is a fundamental enabler for 5G and the exciting opportunities ahead. Why hasn’t it delivered yet – and what needs to change?
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.
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?
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?
5G deployments will need new allocations of radio spectrum, particularly to achieve promised speeds, and target new IoT use-cases. However, the official process for releasing new frequencies is slow and cumbersome. Some countries may short-circuit the process. At the same time, the rationale for new sharing mechanisms, that allow industrial and vertical players to acquire spectrum for their own networks, outside of MNO control, is growing. What should telcos do?
There’s a lot at stake in 5G, and many players are understandably pushing their own views and strategies hard. Our latest analysis summarises the story so far, the barriers, players and timelines, and how we see it playing out.
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.
Widespread use of open source software is an important enabler of agility and innovation in many of the world’s leading internet and IT players. Yet while many telcos say they crave agility, only a minority use open source to best effect. We examine the barriers and drivers, and outline six steps for telcos to safely embrace this key enabler of transformation and innovation.
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?