Nexign and Bubbletone Go Exclusive and Double Down on Telco Blockchain Prospects

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Nexign and Bubbletone augmented their relationship, agreeing to exclusive terms across sales, business, and product development to ensure they sustain competitive differentiation in the early stages of the telco blockchain market.
  • As Nexign and Bubbletone double down on their alliance, they must produce operator endorsements to validate their differentiation and first-mover marketing claims.

In October 2018, Nexign and Bubbletone officially unveiled the decision to take their existing partnership to the next level by entering into exclusivity terms across their sales, business, and product development efforts. Forming an exclusive partnership is a rarity in the telecommunications supplier market, and it demonstrates Nexign and Bubbletone’s determination to press their early inroads in the emerging telco blockchain market. Equally important, the new terms remove concerns that the alliance could lose focus if either Nexign or Bubbletone started forming multiple blockchain and BSS partnerships (see: Nexign and Bubbletone Ready to Turbocharge the BSS Market with Embedded Blockchain Applications,” August 13, 2018).  As a result, Nexign and Bubbletone are on a stronger footing to pursue their joint goal of earning operator trust and accelerating the adoption of blockchain innovations.  The partnership identifies innovations like capturing new revenue streams from roaming visitors and eliminating intermediaries as key reasons for operators to embrace blockchain technology. Continue reading “Nexign and Bubbletone Go Exclusive and Double Down on Telco Blockchain Prospects”

Cisco Continues to Chug Along, Despite a Steady Stream of Executive Departures

John Byrne
John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary:

Since taking the reins at Cisco in 2015, CEO Chuck Robbins has projected an image of stability, even as the company navigates tricky challenges like the move from hardware-centric to software-defined networks. However, the company has seen a steady stream of executive departures since Robbins’ tenure began.

Continue reading “Cisco Continues to Chug Along, Despite a Steady Stream of Executive Departures”

The Telco Blockchain Bandwagon is Ready for Take Off

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

• Blockchain is generating many headlines, mostly related to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the prospect of a new paradigm for fully secure and trusted transactions.

• Telcos are now getting on board what is being billed as the next $1 billion opportunity but must figure out how to work with their suppliers in building new capabilities, ranging from the elimination of hated roaming fees to new connected device services like drone deliveries.

As telcos continue to struggle across the board with declines in both revenue and profitability, blockchain is emerging as a technology with the potential to radically transform the telecommunications industry as well as many other industries. A recent forecast by ResearchAndMarkets predicts revenue from the telecom blockchain will increase by an 80%+ compound annual growth rate over the next five years to nearly $1 billion, while consulting stalwart Accenture sees the potential for a $1 trillion global telco blockchain ecosystem. Even with the wide variance in market forecasts, there is a broad industry consensus that blockchain will grow significantly and play a powerful role in transforming the telco business model and overall industry. Continue reading “The Telco Blockchain Bandwagon is Ready for Take Off”

Whale Cloud: ZTEsoft’s Rebrand Makes a Whale of a Marketing Difference

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Whale Cloud formally debuted its new brand name as the telco software unit of parent company Alibaba, expanding its cloud portfolio range and market ambitions.
  • As Whale Cloud sheds its ZTEsoft identity and prior affiliation with ZTE, it must further clarify its portfolio in relation to Alibaba Cloud’s offering and put more emphasis on 5G capabilities.

In August 2018, Whale Cloud formally unveiled its new brand name and portfolio as the telco software unit of parent company Alibaba and a key partner in Alibaba Cloud’s software service ecosystem, shedding its ZTEsoft identity. (A follow-up official announcement and press release is expected in September 2018.) Whale Cloud’s rebranding follows on Alibaba’s acquisition of ZTE’s stake in ZTEsoft for $190.6 million in February 2018. With the new brand, Whale Cloud strengthens its identity as an integral unit of Alibaba, further distancing the company from the ZTEsoft namesake and historical affiliation with prior parent company ZTE after a three-month shutdown for not complying with terms of a settlement reached with the U.S. government in March 2017. ZTE’s struggles created public relations fallout for the ZTEsoft namesake, fair or not, despite the fact that ZTEsoft’s separation from ZTE Corporation was already well underway. Continue reading “Whale Cloud: ZTEsoft’s Rebrand Makes a Whale of a Marketing Difference”

Samsung’s Bold Commitment to a 5G Future Gives Its RAN Business Short Shrift

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Samsung’s bold announcement of $160 billion investment in the future missed an opportunity to highlight its 5G mobile access infrastructure capabilities.

• At this crucial inflection point in the run-up to the 5G era, Samsung’s longtime-underdog RAN business shouldn’t take a back seat in high-level messaging.

Samsung this week announced sweeping plans to invest a total of KRW 180 trillion (or about $160 billion) over the next three years in future growth areas including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, automotive electronics components, and biopharmaceuticals.

Given the intended impact of the announcement, it’s surprising that Samsung didn’t take the opportunity to make a stronger statement about its role in 5G mobile access infrastructure. True, the release does state that the Korea-based tech giant “will also invest aggressively to become a global player in the advanced markets for 5G chipsets and related devices and equipment.” If that last word can be read to include mobile networking gear, then at least part of a single word in the 820-word message was aimed at capturing 5G networking mind share – not exactly a ringing bell.
Continue reading “Samsung’s Bold Commitment to a 5G Future Gives Its RAN Business Short Shrift”

ZTE Back in Business, but Not “Business as Usual”

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:                 

  • After paying a $1 billion penalty, establishing a $400 million escrow account, appointing a new board, a new CEO, and a new slate of other executive leaders, ZTE has now begun the process of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
  • With a lengthy ten-year probationary period now underway, ZTE must convey to the market that it is a committed and trustworthy partner in order to thrive in the emerging 5G era.

ZTE began its second phase of life – the “after” phase – over the weekend after receiving final clearance from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS) officially removing ZTE from the “Denied Persons List.” The resolution brings to an end a three-month shutdown since the BIS imposed sanctions on ZTE in April for not complying with terms of a settlement reached with the BIS in March 2017. Continue reading “ZTE Back in Business, but Not “Business as Usual””

The Politics of AI is Surging: Operators Must Be Aware of National Security Dimensions

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:                

  • In May, the Trump administration formed a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, convened under National Science and Technology Council – sending a clear message that AI is a vital technology in determining the future direction of the U.S.
  • The AI task force ensures AI development will definitely take on a political dimension – especially on defense issues – but the benefits to key U.S. technology segments such as telecommunications is uncertain.

At a White House Forum on AI held in May, the Trump Administration announced the formation of a new White House AI Task Force. The new “select committee” will comprise senior R&D officials in the federal government, who will be tasked with advising the White House on interagency AI R&D priorities; consider the creation of federal partnerships with industry and academia; establish structures to improve government planning and coordination of AI R&D; and identify opportunities to leverage federal “big data” to support a growing national AI R&D ecosystem. Continue reading “The Politics of AI is Surging: Operators Must Be Aware of National Security Dimensions”