Telco cloud: A key enabler in the Coordination Age

If cloud native networking and business practices are an area of interest or challenge, our insights in Telco Cloud and support can help

How to realise the telco cloud vision

Telco cloud is more than just a new approach to the network, it is also a fundamental shift in how telcos operate and innovate. As networks become more accessible and instructible, telco cloud enables operators to impart actionable insights and capabilities to meet the needs of applications and customers using it. This is about providing greater value in the Coordination Age.

However, realising this vision comes with challenges and the pathways of getting there can vary significantly. We are committed to working with those who share a vision for the industry that involves greater agility with Telco Cloud as a key foundation of success.

Overview

What is telco cloud and why does it matter?

This overview explains the essentials about telco cloud, including virtualisation, NFV and SDN.

Article

NFV Vendor Landscape tool

An interactive tool that shows the offerings from different players in the NFV ecosystem,segmented based on the categories defined in the ETSI NFV architectural framework. It is a broad view of current and future offerings.

Article

Operator strategies to cloud native networking

This blog post is a short-form version of an in-depth report investigating the different operator strategies to cloud native networking

Article

Four key benefits of Open RAN and whether “open” matters

This article outlines 4 key benefits of three open RAN technologies (vRAN, C-RAN, open-RAN) and evaluates whether these benefits are contingent on operators deploying a fully disaggregated RAN – i.e., “open-RAN”, with an open, disaggregated interface between the BBU and the RRU.

Article

What is open RAN and where are we at in 2021?

As industry projections suggest that proprietary vRAN provided by traditional vendors will continue to dominate the industry in the near term, this article highlights the key open RAN developments in 2020 and gives an overview of the current state of the industry on deploying open RAN.

Article

11 companies innovating in private cellular

The interest in private LTE and 5G networks has skyrocketed. Enterprises who have historically relied upon Wi–Fi connections or public cellular spectrum can now take full control over their systems and optimise their network. With more and more industries looking at the potential value of private cellular, we highlight some of innovative companies set to disrupt the dominance of the traditional players within the ecosystem.

Article

Top ten tenets of Telco Cloud

Below, we outline our top 10 tenets in Telco Cloud, sharing our high-level view of where we see the telecoms industry moving and what we believe the future will be.

Article

Private 5G vs Wi-Fi vs Private LTE

With the advent of (private) 5G solutions, there is a new alternative to Wi-Fi or private LTE for businesses looking at wireless networking solutions. This article breaks down each technology and compares their various strengths and weaknesses. 

Article

Cloud Native Telecoms: Are CNFs the future?

Unpicking the claim that “cloud native” is the future of telecoms, disentangling the reality of deployments from marketing spin. What does this mean for NFV?

Article

10 RAN vendors: challengers, newcomers and heavyweights

As the RAN ecosystem evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult to track the different vendor deployments and their individual product offerings. In this article, we highlight ten different companies that offer RAN solutions.

Article

3 key AI use cases in telco networks

5G is going to enhance the field of AI, but AI can also play a key role in the rollout of 5G itself. This article explores the different types of use cases for AI as applied to telco networks.

Article

What is open RAN? C-RAN, vRAN & open-RAN

The open RAN is an umbrella term for a group of different technologies that telecoms operators hope will break vendor-lock in and lead to a significant reduction in capex and opex for their radio access networks (RANs).?

Article

Will open RAN help telcos reduce their physical infrastructure footprint

Open RAN will have serious consequences for the physical distribution of the mobile network. What strategies are operators adopting and how will this affect operations?

Article

Latest NFV News & Announcements

A selection of what we consider to be some of the most exciting recent developments in NFV & SDN, all of which have real potential to transform the current landscape.

Article

Who cares about Telco Cloud?

Telco cloud, NFV, SDN… Many dismiss it as over-technical, over-hyped, or just plain boring. Deployments to date haven’t delivered much. Yet it is a fundamental enabler for 5G growth opportunities, so now is the time to get it right.

Article

Rakuten’s network: is it really cloud-native, multi-vendor and fully-virtualised?

Japanese new-entrant operator Rakuten claims to have built a fully-virtualised, cloud-native, multi-vendor network, which is a world’s first. We evaluate the nature of Rakuten’s employment, breaking it down based on what each factor means and the extent to which these claims are true.

Article

What is end-to-end network automation and why do we need it?

Network automation is not new but one area that that is ripe for telecoms operators. We explore the different perspectives and definitions of end-to-end automation and why operators have been prioritising network automation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Article

NFV Architectural Framework

NFV architecture needs to establish the virtualisation of diverse sets of network functions, and encourage the standardisation of NFV by addressing interoperability and enable VNFs to be used in a way that is independent of the vendor supplying them. This article explores the NFV architectural framework established by ETSI

Article

Introduction to SD-WAN

This guide provides an introduction to SD-WAN. Covers use cases, benefits for businesses and the future of the technology

Article

15 NFV Solution Providers to Watch

We have been following developments and deployments in the Telco Cloud space for several years. In this article, we highlight fifteen different companies that offer NFV solutions, from traditional Network Equipment Providers to start-ups you may not have heard of.

Article

vRAN and edge computing: networking use cases will be key to investment and rollout

vRAN, or virtualised radio access network, could be one of the largest drivers for more distributed compute in the next five years. This has significant implications for how and where edge infrastructure will be deployed. There are several considerations edge application providers must take note of.

Data chart

Proprietary vendors still dominate NFV

NFV promised to deliver truly open hardware and software platforms. Yet the space is still dominated by proprietary vendor solutions. We look at the data around this

Published: January 2019

Article

Benefits of SD-WAN: SD-WAN benefits over a traditional environment

SD-WAN brings with it several benefits over a traditional environment. Here, we explore the core benefits of SD-WAN and explain some of the nuance surrounding these.

Article

What is SD-WAN as a service?

SD-WAN does not have to be delivered in a hardware-centric way. Enter SD-WAN as a Service. SD-WAN as a Service is about applying the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to SD-WAN

SD-Wan vs. MPLS

Article

SD-WAN vs MPLS: Will SD-WAN lead to the demise of MPLS?

When SD-WAN first came along, there was a lot of hype surrounding it; many said it was far superior to MPLS and that its rise would lead to the ‘death’ of MPLS. We look at the difference is between the two, and if one is in fact better than the other.

Private LTE

Article

Private LTE: new business model opportunity for vRAN

Our research predicts that the most significant and earliest use cases for edge sites will to be support vRAN for opex reduction but also to enable next-generation network services. Private LTE networks are one key example of this, and represent a significant opportunity for operators to create new business models and revenues.

Private LTE

Article

The second cloud-native wave of NFV is being driven by 5G

2020 has been a strong year for telco cloud deployments so far, and while deployments in Europe are still dominated by the major players, smaller players are catching up. The main driver of this growth has been deployments of non-standalone 5G cores, used to support either completed or upcoming 5G network launches. We see telco cloud as entering a potentially bigger, second phase, based on cloud-native technology and serving as an integral behaviour of 5G network sand services.

Article

CDN: what is edge CDN and virtual CDN (vCDN)?

Content and gaming providers face increasing competition to offer users the best quality of experience in the face of increasing demand for fast and high-quality streaming. The COVID-19 environment has put new strains on the network that means it is much more difficult to ensure delivery of content in a way that optimises user experience. There are two key trends emerging in CDN that could address this challenge: edge CDN and vCDN.

Article

Zeetta Networks Q+A: network slicing and splicing with private 5G networks

Zeetta Networks is providing innovative capabilities in the provision of integrated 5G/Wi-Fi network management solutions, in their active work in the 5G-ENCODE project in manufacturing. We spoke to their CEO and Co-Founder Vassilis Seferidis about the work that Zeetta Networks is doing on network slicing and splicing in the context of enterprise private 5G networks.

Article

What is 5G network slicing?

Network slicing has been touted as one of the key opportunities enabled by 5G. One that poses a unique proposition – the ability to run multiple logical end-to-end networks on common shared infrastructure, with greater flexibility than before. But where are we today in realising the vision for 5G dynamic network slicing?

Article

Why AI in telecoms matters in the Coordination Age

As we move into the Coordination Age, telcos are under increasing pressure to innovate and find new sources of revenue growth. AI is one of a host of new technologies which can help them to achieve this.

Article

What does telco cloud mean for different telco stakeholders?

Telco cloud will be a key enabler in the Coordination Age, but the role and value it provides is different depending on the stakeholder group within the organisations. We explore the different opportunities and concerns for telco cloud for various stakeholders across telecoms organisations.

Article

Neutral Host: How Open RAN and Neutral Host paves the way for 5G

Most operators are not planning to deploy Open RAN in their macro networks any time soon. However, Open RAN based neutral hosts offer a more immediate opportunity for operators to expand much needed 5G coverage: in-building, dense urban and rural. The macro networks will benefit too.

Article

Automation in the telecoms industry: A key differentiator

This article explores how telcos are thinking about automation, and why they should think about moving from intra-process automation in the short term, to inter-process automation in the longer term.

Article

Unlocking the value of private cellular

Given the push for digital transformation across various industries, the availability of spectrum and the interest in 5G, there has been an increased demand in private cellular networks. This article explores the business value that private cellular can deliver and key use cases it can enable.

Article

DISH goes “cloud telco” with AWS: what does this mean for DISH’s 5G O-RAN strategy?

DISH Network has announced a strategic collaboration with AWS, which sees DISH outsourcing its 5G network infrastructure to hyperscaler public cloud: what does this mean for DISH’s 5G O-RAN strategy and other partnerships?

Article

Open RAN capex: Global market forecast for 2020-2030

STL Partners has created a model to estimate the size of the Open RAN market until 2030. The output of the model estimates the percentage of active RAN capex that is dedicated to Open RAN across five different scenarios: from ‘pure’ (assuming 100% of RAN capex is Open RAN) to ‘none’ (assuming 0% of RAN capex is Open RAN).

Article

RIC, xApps, rApps: Who are the key players?

As the radio access network continues to evolve towards more open architecture, opportunities for innovation in the Open RAN space have proliferated. One of the central components within Open RAN architecture is the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), which provides an open hosting platform for innovative xApps and rApps. We highlight 12 key players in this space.

Article

Advanced analytics for telecoms: how to unlock AI and ML capabilities

With more data than ever before, advanced analytics forms the base for AI and ML capabilities to play an essential role into the day-to-day operations of major telcos enabling smarter, more agile networks.

Article

Understanding the SD-WAN ecosystem: 8 leading SD-WAN providers

With several, complex SD-WAN offerings available and different players able to provide on-demand SD-WAN and multi-cloud networking capabilities, the SD-WAN ecosystem and market is becoming an increasingly interesting area and a potential battleground. This article provides an overview of the leading SD-WAN providers.

NFV/SDN

Telco Cloud

Unlocking the core and enabling growth

Research stream, including around 8 reports a year

Our dedicated research stream covers why telco cloud matters in the 5G era, how to make it happen, and how to measure success. NFV SDN, and beyond. It also includes access to the NFV Deployment Tracker, our industry-leading database of deployments.

 

The data intelligence you can expect from our NFV tracker

Telco Cloud

Unlocking the core and enabling growth

Research stream, including around 8 reports a year

Our dedicated research stream covers why telco cloud matters in the 5G era, how to make it happen, and how to measure success. NFV SDN, and beyond. It also includes access to the NFV Deployment Tracker, our industry-leading database of deployments.

 

The data intelligence you can expect from our NFV tracker

Research

Scaling private cellular and edge: How to avoid POC and pilot purgatory

We evaluate how enterprises are exploring private cellular and edge, the challenges they face in scaling existing proofs of concept and pilots and how they and telco operators can overcome them

Published: August 2021

Research

O-RAN: What is it worth?

Global O-RAN capex forecasts 2020–2030, modelling operator investments across four migration pathways.

Published: June 2021

Research

2020 in review and focus on North America: How should telcos do cloud?

5G is now the main driver of VNF deployment. But can telcos be cloud-native without being hyperscaler-dependent?

Published: April 2021

Research

Cloud native: Just another technology generation?

Cloud native networking offers operators a promise of efficiency, automation and innovation to underpin their future in the coordination age. But it should also mean a new operating model, new skills and organisation that few feel they are ready for.

Published: March 2021

Research

Microsoft, Affirmed and Metaswitch: What does it mean for telecoms?

Our in-depth analysis of Microsoft’s play in the telecoms market, why it acquired Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, and what telcos should do about it.

Published: January 2021

Research

Telco Cloud Europe update: Open RAN approaching tipping point

Telco cloud continues to be deployed worldwide. A wave of recent deployments has been driven by 5G launches, and multiple factors may soon drive large-scale open RAN deployments

Published: October 2020

Research

Building telco edge infrastructure: MEC, Private LTE & VRAN

Edge infrastructure deployment is happening – but how big will it really be, and where will it happen? We quantify the five-year outlook for edge deployments across four key domains.

Published: August 2020

Research

ngena SD-WAN: scaling innovation through partnership

Born of a unique partnership between Deutsche Telekom and Cisco, ngena leverages the networks of partners worldwide to provide a global enterprise connectivity platform. How did it come about, how successful has it been, and what does it teach us about innovation in telecoms?

Published: July 2020

Research

End-to-end network automation: Why and how to do it?

True E2E automation has not yet been achieved, but network automation is a reality now, and one which telcos must master to survive. What steps are telcos taking to implement network automation, what challenges must be overcome and what benefits can be expected?

Published: June 2020

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker: Updated June 2020

The latest update of our database of commercial deployments of NFV and SDN by leading telcos worldwide.

Updated: June 2020

Research

NFV goes mainstream: How cloud native is contributing to growth

The number of deployments of NFV and SDN continues to grow – but while some markets are moving on to the next phase, others are just getting going.

Published: June 2020

Research

Telco edge computing: What’s the operator strategy?

Edge computing is a strategic opportunity for telcos. We examine the driving needs and applications for telco edge computing, describe the market and the options for telcos, discuss their partnerships with hyperscalers and recommend key actions.

Published: May 2020

Research

Open RAN: What should telcos do?

Alongside the roll-out of 5G cores and radios, the Radio Access Network (RAN) is evolving to a more open, virtualised and distributed architecture. What are the opportunities and risks for telcos?

Published: April 2020

Research

Telco Cloud: Why it hasn’t delivered, and what must change for 5G

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?

Published: February 2020

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker: Asia-Pacific points to the future

Asia-Pacific is the leading region in the global NFV/SDN market: highest volume of deployments and consistent record of innovation. The region points the way ahead for the global market.

Published: November 2019

Research

5G core and NFV: Different sides of the same coin?

The 5G network core is supposed to be fully virtualised and cloud-native. But formulation of the 5G standards has not been harmonised with the broader NFV project. What impact will this have on service innovation? Includes Rakuten case study.

Published: October 2019

Research

SD-WAN: enterprise challenges, flavours and future pathways

A three-part mini-series exploring SD-WAN technology from an enterprise perspective. How can SD-WAN help with enterprises’ challenges, what flavours are on offer and how do they work, and where will it go next?

Published: June 2019

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker: North America update

New deployments in N America are increasingly driven by 5G, with a striking role for open source and telco self-builds. N American deployments account for around 24% of the global total

Published: June 2019

Research

3 telco business models: Soft-net, compute-net, cloud-net

Telcos must adapt to virtualisation and changing customer needs in the Coordination Age. Our three models offer a realistic agenda for telcos to build up the stack into the IT layer – either by themselves or through partnerships

Published: March 2019

Webinar

Telco and hyperscaler strategies: how to co-exist?

In this webinar, we will explore how telcos can collaborate and partner with the hyperscalers to strengthen their respective positions, and how operators can leverage hyperscalers’ capabilities as they seek to move up the value chain.

Recorded: June 2021

Webinar

Operator strategies in cloud-native networking

In this webinar, we share STL’s latest research findings on the different operator strategies in approaching cloud native networking.

Recorded February 2021

Webinar

Open RAN: What should telcos do?

In this webinar STL Partners addressed the three most important sub-components of Open RAN (open-RAN, vRAN and C-RAN) and how they interact to enable a new, virtualized, less vendor-dominated RAN ecosystem.

Recorded: August 2020

Webinar

5G Telco Clouds: Where we are and where we are headed

In this webinar, we will argue that 5G will only pay if telcos find a way to make telco clouds work.

Recorded: April 2020

Case studies

Case Study

Identifying and evaluating viable NFV partnerships

STL Partners was tasked to identify and evaluate potential “big-bet” partnership opportunities to help the client scale and accelerate traction with T2 and T3 operators.

Case study

Juniper: understanding how to achieve telco cloud success

STL Partners helped Juniper to build an insights-led campaign focused on telco cloud, turning insights from an extensive global interview programme into tools that Juniper could use to engage with telcos.

Case study

Dell Technologies: quantifying ROI for advanced analytics

STL Partners helped Dell Technologies to qualify and quantify the impact of their advanced analytics solution on telco operations through ROI modelling and customer interviews.

What our customers say

“STL provided customised, detailed analysis that addressed our specific needs …. not fixed generic templates we get from others”

Director, Field and Partner Development, Global technology company

“We have joined forces with STL Partners to debate and drive the industry conversation on topics from revenue opportunities coming from the shift to a cloud based infrastructure, to the business feasilbity of 5G network slicing. I am very confident I can rely on STL Partners whenever I need unique and compelling points of view on the current state of the telco industry – about technology of course, but more importantly about the business aspects.”

Director of Portfolio Marketing, Telecommunications, Global technology company

“I am more certain now than ever that we made the right choice with STL Partners. The consulting team worked with professionalism and produced high-quality output that could be repurposed in a wide variety of ways”

Product Manager, Service Provider Analytics, Global technology company

Meet the telco cloud team

Yesmean Luk

Yesmean Luk

Senior Consultant

Miran Gilmore

Miran Gilmore

Consultant

David Martin

David Martin

Associate Senior Analyst

Philip Laidler

Philip Laidler

Consulting Director

Matt Bamforth

Matt Bamforth

Consultant