Small Cell Backhaul: Tarana Knows a “Good Story” Isn’t Enough

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Tarana Wireless, a start-up small cell backhaul vendor, held its first Analyst Day on November 19th in Berkeley, CA.
  • While the event was important for lending insights into the company’s products and strategy, it was more important as an opportunity to see its solution in action – operating as promised.

Last week, looking back at the messaging out of Alcatel-Lucent’s Tech Symposium, we talked about the value of a “good story.”  It wasn’t meant in a negative way.  It wasn’t meant to suggest that the “story” was more important than products.  Instead, where Alcatel-Lucent hasn’t always been expert at publicly showcasing its strengths, the value of a good story was simply meant to signify the importance of getting a coherent, compelling message into the market that addresses would-be customer demands.

Often, however, a good story simply isn’t enough.  Continue reading “Small Cell Backhaul: Tarana Knows a “Good Story” Isn’t Enough”

Ericsson’s NEST 2013: 5G and Using Network Slices to View the Forest for the Trees

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

At its recently concluded Networked Society Forum (NEST), Ericsson brought together its senior leadership team, many of its customers, and a fair number of deep thinkers who make their living as “futurists.”  The goal of the event was to stimulate some out-of-the-box thinking regarding future challenges that will face society as the world’s population becomes increasingly urban; one stat thrown around at the conference, for example, was that by 2050, 70% of the earth’s people will live in cities.  Of course, as part of this discussion, Ericsson took care to cultivate the message that ICT networks are going to be at the center of many solutions aimed at maintaining and, hopefully, increasing quality of life as we will increasingly be forced to live our lives while encroaching on each other’s personal space. Continue reading “Ericsson’s NEST 2013: 5G and Using Network Slices to View the Forest for the Trees”

Operator Loyalty Reward Programs: Are OSS/BSS Suppliers Missing a Great Opportunity?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall
Summary Bullets:

  • OSS/BSS suppliers are in position to drive innovation of operator loyalty and reward programs.
  • Mobile marketing specialists have recently grabbed the marketing spotlight in stimulating operator loyalty program efforts.

Network operators of all types face the constant challenge of maintaining the loyalty of their customers.  Reducing customer churn consistently ranks as one of the key challenges operators identify as a top priority that keeps their decision makers up at night.  As a result, operators have invested a great deal to incentivize customers and prospects to choose their service including subsidies for mobile devices and discounts for switching operator services. Continue reading “Operator Loyalty Reward Programs: Are OSS/BSS Suppliers Missing a Great Opportunity?”

Big Data Transport Enters the Service Provider Vocabulary in a Monstrous Way

Glenn Hunt
Glenn Hunt
Summary Bullets:

  • Big data/analytics have arrived, to help deliver on high user and service provider expectations.
  • New database technologies and open source software form the basis for effective solutions.

Now that SDN and NFV seem to have gone from novel concept to a foregone conclusion, the telecom market’s never ending quest for the ‘next big thing’ has settled, appropriately, on big data and its counterpart big data analytics as the topic on everyone’s mind.  Okay, so maybe SDN and NFV have some time left on the hype train, but today, let’s ponder the question as to why the industry has shifted its focus from selectively collecting barely enough data to feed the billing cycle and provide SLA assurance to collecting so much data that some predict the amount of data being processed by big data analytics engines will exceed the amount of traffic on the network itself. Continue reading “Big Data Transport Enters the Service Provider Vocabulary in a Monstrous Way”

Will NEPs Block NFV Like Carriers Tried to Block OTTs?

David Snow
David Snow
Summary Bullets:

  • NFV poses a threat to established NEPs which is analogous to carriers’ OTT challenge.
  • While the NFV debate currently rages around performance, it is easing NFV management issues that will make vendors ‘carrier-friendly.’

The thirteen operators which fired the starting pistol for the networks functions virtualization (NFV) initiative in October 2012 can certainly be credited with starting a revolution.  Just over one year into this race, every network equipment provider (NEP) has been compelled to have an official ‘NFV story.’  In truth, NFV is not really a new concept and has been in use in IT and telecom service layer products over many years.  However, what is new is the way in which ‘commercial off-the-shelf’ (COTS) hardware is increasingly able to support processing workloads at the network layer, previously the sole domain of specialized telecom hardware.  This it is what fuels the more ‘revolutionary’ dimension of NFV among both operators and vendors.  Continue reading “Will NEPs Block NFV Like Carriers Tried to Block OTTs?”

Think You Know What Small Cells Are? You’re Wrong

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins
Summary Bullets:

  • Vendors are expanding the definition of “small cells.”
  • It’s not just a semantic question.

At this point in the small-cell hype cycle, you might think we’re far past the time when anyone could ask aloud what a small cell is without shame.  However, the question is actually getting harder to answer, not easier. Continue reading “Think You Know What Small Cells Are? You’re Wrong”

Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium: Day One (The Value of a Good Story)

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Alcatel-Lucent’s Technology Symposium revealed much more coherent messaging around SDN and NFV than at its Nuage launch from earlier in the year.
  • In justifying its LTE overlay strategy, a focus on customer demands took center stage.
  • In each case, the story behind Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy decisions and messaging points to an encouraging company evolution.

There wasn’t much to tweet about during the welcome reception and dinner on the night before Alcatel-Lucent’s 2013 Technology Summit.  The plenary sessions on Day One, however, provided plenty to comment on.  While not intentional, a colleague from another analyst firm noted that my running commentary seemed rather negative.  You can be the judge (check me out at @pnjarich), but here are some highlights. Continue reading “Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium: Day One (The Value of a Good Story)”

Amdocs InTouch Put Operators on Notice That It Is Serious About Networks

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

A month or so ago, when Amdocs announced its Actix acquisition, I wrote a blog post hinting that the BSS specialist was treading into waters that many folks would say were way out of its depth.  Even with Actix, the Amdocs heritage is decidedly NOT telco network-centric.  To think that acquiring a RAN optimization platform would give it the chops to compete with the likes of Ericsson, NSN, Huawei or Alcatel-Lucent – even Samsung or NEC – was borderline crazy.

This week, I traveled to San Diego for the Amdocs InTouch customer event.  I ate and drank in the Southern California sunshine, and I came back with a different perspective.  Seriously, sunshine and fruit of the vine notwithstanding, I got to speak with folks from Actix.  I got to hear from Eli Gelman (Amdocs’ CEO) and other Amdocs subject matter experts on why the combination of Amdocs, Actix and, most recently, Celcite will form a potentially sharp thorn in the side of the aforementioned radio network equipment providers (NEPs). Continue reading “Amdocs InTouch Put Operators on Notice That It Is Serious About Networks”

Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium: Day Zero

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Alcatel-Lucent’s 2013 Technology Symposium kicked off with a focus on Bell Labs innovations.
  • For would-be customers, those innovations need to be about supporting today’s products – not just branding.

Where NSN decided to host analysts down in Brazil last month, Alcatel-Lucent’s decision to host its 2013 Technology Symposium in New Jersey at the onset of winter (November 14th and 15th) was just one more sign that these are two very different companies with different messaging agendas.  With the Shift Plan in its infancy, Alcatel-Lucent is still very much in an ‘education mode’ around its most recent restructuring.  It’s no surprise, then, that it convened a mix of industry analysts, financial analysts and the media; it has a lot of different audiences it needs to educate (convince).  Likewise, while NSN made the decision to focus its business narrowly on mobile broadband and CEM, Alcatel-Lucent’s broader focus means that the topics being addressed this week in New Jersey will both overlap with and diverge from the things NSN likes to talk about (at least based on the initial agenda). Continue reading “Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium: Day Zero”

SDN/NFV Killer App: New Generation Demands Continuous Service Enhancement

Rick Talbot
Rick Talbot

Summary Bullets:

  • A new generation of end users will demand continuously enhanced services.
  • SDN/NFV will be required to provide the flexibility to keep up with these changes.

Industry pundits have been debating the value of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) for the past year. One line of questions asks whether their value to network operators rests in an ability to cut capital costs, reduce operational expenses or stimulate revenues. Since network operators are relatively conservative, they generally base their decisions on how sure they can be of the savings or revenue figures, with the descending order of confidence being:

1. Capital costs (reliable, as an upfront figure);
2. Operational expense (somewhat controllable, but mostly future); then
3. Revenue (practically uncontrollable in an operator’s eyes).

It was surprising, then, that two operators at last month’s TM Forum Digital Disruption 2013 conference posited that potential revenues, not cost savings, would drive SDN/NFV deployment. Continue reading “SDN/NFV Killer App: New Generation Demands Continuous Service Enhancement”