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”

Telco Software Corporate Rebranding: Key to Enabling New Growth Strategies and Long-term Competitiveness

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:           

  • In 2018 telco software suppliers Nexign, Optiva, Federos, and Nokia Software are using new brand names to power corporate strategic priorities such as penetrating new geographic regions and executing portfolio makeovers.
  • By using new brand names, telco software vendors demonstrate their strategic commitment to meeting emerging market demands and sustaining long-term competitiveness in a shifting and challenging market landscape.

 

Telco software vendors are constantly adapting new marketing and branding strategies to meet emerging market demands and shifting competitive dynamics. Nexign, Federos, Optiva, and Nokia Software are recent high-profile examples of vendors who are using new corporate namesakes as an integral element in boosting their long-term competitiveness. Continue reading “Telco Software Corporate Rebranding: Key to Enabling New Growth Strategies and Long-term Competitiveness”

AT&T SHAPE 2018: Visions of New Content Creation and Delivery Innovations

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T SHAPE 2018 preceded AT&T’s federal court win and subsequent closing of its acquisition of Time Warner by just over a week, highlighting AT&T’s confidence that it had the firm legal standing/precedent to move forward.
  • The focus of AT&T SHAPE 2018 was dramatically different from the 2017 version; for 2018, AT&T and partner vendors highlighted how new content will be both created and delivered to its customers.

AT&T’s SHAPE event took place once again in Burbank, California, during the first weekend in June. In some respects, SHAPE 2018 built upon the foundation set at last year’s SHAPE event. As in 2017, the SHAPE 2018 showcased the content and creative assets AT&T would take ownership of (i.e., Warner Brothers Studios) by utilizing the WB campus again, perhaps to reiterate the magnitude, breadth, and depth of the WB assets, both physically and virtually, and the vital role AT&T sees them playing under the AT&T umbrella. AT&T’s own description of SHAPE was of “an immersive event that explores the convergence of technology and entertainment.” Continue reading “AT&T SHAPE 2018: Visions of New Content Creation and Delivery Innovations”

Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Formula 1 debuted its direct-to-consumer, OTT streaming service, F1 TV Pro, at last month’s Spanish Grand Prix. It was a massive, embarrassing failure, with many customers actually unable to watch the live stream of the race itself.
  • Formula 1 owner Liberty Media needs to address any/all issues quickly, to ensure optimal quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) for this premium, live broadcast streaming service or face the prospect of losing a high-potential (and high-margin) revenue-generation opportunity.

Formula One (F1) marked the start of its European season this past weekend with the debut of its own direct-to-consumer, over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service, F1 TV Pro. Given F1’s position as the most watched, globally prominent, high-profile motorsport, service quality expectations were quite high. Instead, subscribers were served massive helpings of disappointment, most notably by being unable to watch an actual live stream of the race itself. Sadly, similar problems occurred during F1 TV Pro’s streaming of the next race, at Monaco, which is generally regarded as Formula 1’s marquee event of the year. In response, Formula 1 has set up a help account on Twitter (@F1Help) to address streaming issues. Still, some customers claimed to miss the first eight minutes of the Monaco race; @F1Help’s official post cited a “temporary blip” as the cause. Continue reading “Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure”