Subsea Deployments Driving Growth and Innovation for Many Vendors

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

  • Subsea cable deployments have represented a small but significant share of revenue for many vendors. However, that is changing as demand for broadband capacity continues to increase.
  • These vendors are also finding that subsea deployments serve not only as a source of growth, but as an ideal venue to showcase their latest product capabilities as well, particularly in 800G coherent optics.

Recent announcements by a number of subsea cable providers are showcasing a number of key trends: not only is subsea capacity more in demand than ever, but these deployments are also serving as an ideal technological proving ground. Continue reading “Subsea Deployments Driving Growth and Innovation for Many Vendors”

Automation, AI, Cloud, and Services – The Foundation for 5G

Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

Fulfilling the Promise of 5G – 5G requires a fully automated and intelligent network infrastructure capable of delivering high speed broadband and new enterprise and industrial network services.

Taming Complexity – AI and agile cloud-based resources are necessary to deliver a fully digitized and flexible services environment, simplify complex network management and reduce operational costs.

5G network expectations have been well articulated, but meeting these lofty expectations is another matter. Today’s networks are multi-layer, multi-technology, and multi-vendor, which adds to the depth of the challenge at hand. The goal is to deliver new network and application services in a manner that satisfies on-demand user expectations over a network infrastructure that grows more complex over time.

The good news is that automation and AI technologies are steadily ramping up to address the complexity inherent in these multi-X networks; however, before automation and AI can be instrumented, the network infrastructure must be made programmable, a monumental task. The following analysis explores each of the key capabilities needed to establish an intelligent 5G network and note significant advances in vendor solutions. Continue reading “Automation, AI, Cloud, and Services – The Foundation for 5G”

Homeworkers May Be the True Market Opportunity for 5G Fixed Wireless

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators and vendors have been targeting the U.S. market recently with a number of new offerings that enable enterprises to provide a secure IT and communications environment for their employees that are increasingly likely to work-from-home even after the pandemic subsides.
  • 5G proponents have thus far struggled to identify workable use cases for 5G fixed wireless, particularly as a replacement for fixed broadband. The incremental enterprise opportunity may represent the true 5G FWA use case.

Google became the latest big company to embrace an extended – and perhaps permanent – employment paradigm in which many employees will be working from home, at least part-time, for the foreseeable future. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced March 5 that Google will allow approximately 20% of workers to stay home permanently, and most employees will be able to work from home two days per week. Google joins a host of companies embracing hybrid working environments even once pandemic restrictions have fully eased. Continue reading “Homeworkers May Be the True Market Opportunity for 5G Fixed Wireless”

Huawei Software and Services Lays the Foundation for an Ecosystem Play

Andy Hicks, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • At Huawei’s recent analyst event, the company said that it was placing greater emphasis on building a services and software partner ecosystem.
  • Although Huawei has historically not built much of a partner ecosystem outside its local deployment and maintenance relationships, it now has several pieces in place to make more progress in the area.

At the annual Huawei Analyst Summit (HAS) in April 2021 – the second year it was conducted largely virtually – Huawei’s Software and Services leadership went into detail on its advancements and strategies for the group. Discussions touched several times on Huawei’s desire to build up its partner ecosystem, both to expand the innovation it can deliver to clients and to extend its reach to additional service provider business lines. Huawei has historically maintained a substantial ecosystem in local country network deployment and operations field forces, but its progress on building a service creation ecosystem has been less apparent. At HAS, Huawei executives made clear they understand that developing an ecosystem is vital to its goal of emphasizing software and services as a means to enhance customer loyalty and diversify its revenue stream in the wake of ongoing hardware supply chain challenges. Continue reading “Huawei Software and Services Lays the Foundation for an Ecosystem Play”

T-Mobile US–Lumen Alliance Combines 5G and Edge: Is a Merger the Next Logical Step?

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• T-Mobile US and Lumen announced an alliance in April to sell packages of edge computing services and 5G wireless to enterprises in the U.S.

• The venture leverages the strengths and blunts the weaknesses of both companies. Longer-term, it could lead to a merger that would enable both companies to compete more effectively against AT&T and Verizon.

T-Mobile US and Lumen Technologies announced in April that they will embark on a strategic alliance to help business customers build, manage, and scale applications across distributed environments. The partners note that enterprise applications would benefit from Lumen’s hundreds of thousands of fiber-connected enterprise locations paired with T-Mobile’s large and fast 5G network. T-Mobile will also become a preferred wireless connectivity partner for Lumen, allowing for a more flexible and reliable connectivity solution for all enterprises. Continue reading “T-Mobile US–Lumen Alliance Combines 5G and Edge: Is a Merger the Next Logical Step?”

Why It’s Already Time to Start Talking About 5.5G

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei has begun promoting “5.5G,” assigning it three new capabilities related to faster uplink, real-time broadband, and harmonization

• 5G is already evolving faster than 4G; going forward, the conventions of technology branding may change

For much of the previous decade, the mobile telecom industry promised that 5G would arrive in 2020. Now we’re only a few months past 2020, and we’re starting to hear more about the next steps: 6G won’t arrive until 2030, but in 2025, there’s 5.5G. Continue reading “Why It’s Already Time to Start Talking About 5.5G”

Huawei Annual Report Shows Increasing Reliance on Home Market in Response to Geopolitical Challenges

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei posted modest growth in 2020 despite pandemic-related challenges; however, the company relied heavily on its domestic market while revenue outside China declined significantly.
  • The Chinese market alone makes Huawei one of the largest ICT providers in the world; however, the company’s global supply chain will continue to pose significant challenges.

The 2020 annual report released by Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei Technologies shows the company’s share of revenue coming from its home market rose sharply in 2020, increasing to nearly two-thirds of total revenue. In total, Huawei reported revenue of CNY 891.4 billion, or $136.7 billion, in 2020. The company managed to increase revenue nearly 4% compared to the prior year – an impressive feat in the midst of a global pandemic. Continue reading “Huawei Annual Report Shows Increasing Reliance on Home Market in Response to Geopolitical Challenges”

TIP Spells Out What WAN SDN Controllers MUST Do

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • TIP MUST intends to accelerate SDN adoption in the WAN by defining requirements for WAN SDN based on real-life operator use cases.
  • The resulting architecture is open and will likely help fill the gap most vendors are unwilling or unable to address: the hierarchical controller space.

From the onset of attempts to implement SDN into telco WAN infrastructure, operators have faced two obstacles that severely limited its usefulness: lack of multi-vendor support and inability to control legacy environments. Telco equipment vendors have not been able to come up with a technical consensus that would solve these issues, for various reasons. Instead, most WAN SDN implementations have so far been restricted to one vendor’s equipment or have entailed costly integration of multiple vendors’ equipment under one domain controller. The results of these developments have so far been underwhelming; the market landscape remains fragmented, SDN adoption is slow, and the costs are high due to custom integration and operational support overhead. Continue reading “TIP Spells Out What WAN SDN Controllers MUST Do”

US Operators Signal Higher Capex in 2021 After a COVID-Dampened 2020

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

• Despite the impact of COVID-19, capital spending by US network operators was down relatively modestly in 2020, falling by around 4%.

• 2021 guidance from these operators shows a return to roughly similar levels as 2019. Continued demand for additional network capacity along with new 5G imperatives clearly remain.

An analysis of US operator financial results based on Q4 2020 earnings releases shows that while COVID-19 did slow capital investment, it could have been worse. Thanks to a flurry of activity toward the end of the year, the nine publicly-reported carriers, all of which spent in excess of $1 billion in capex, accounted for just over $67 billion in spending. That was down by approximately $3 billion, or 4.2%, compared to 2019. GlobalData estimates that the big three that account for nearly 70% of total capex – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA – spent roughly $46 billion, down 6.1% from 2019. However, the bulk of the decline was attributable to AT&T. Continue reading “US Operators Signal Higher Capex in 2021 After a COVID-Dampened 2020”

MWC2021 Organizers Insist the Show Must Go On

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets

• GSMA is moving forward with plans for an-in person MWC Barcelona event, though roughly half its normal size and with numerous COVID-19-related precautions.

• Despite moving the date back four months to June 2021, there are still many obstacles to overcome before an actual event will even be feasible.

After the GSM Association (GSMA) made the difficult decision to cancel Mobile World Congress (MWC2020), the largest mobile event in the world, last February, it spent months working with exhibitors on a revised package of discounts to future events. For most exhibitors, the compromise package meant agreeing to forego any cash refund. Instead, these companies agreed to a series of rebates on future events, including a 65% credit on MWC2021, a 35% credit on MWC2022, and a 25% credit on MWC2023.

The event, held annually in Barcelona, was originally scheduled for this week. However, last September the GSMA agreed to postpone the event by four months to hedge its bets, just as Europe was heading into its second wave of COVID-19 infections. The question now is whether even the additional four months will be enough time to carry off a physical event. Continue reading “MWC2021 Organizers Insist the Show Must Go On”