BSS Selection Criteria: What Are Operators Prioritizing for LTE Solutions?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Three BSS solution criteria have generated near-universal operator prioritization for LTE services: NFV vision; service personalization; boosting time-to-market intervals for service innovation.
  • BSS suppliers need to differentiate their LTE solutions in those three areas to optimize meeting current operator LTE priorities; there is ample room for such prioritization.

BSS suppliers continue to adjust their 4G/LTE solutions according to the evolving demands of mobile operators. Naturally, the BSS use case varies based on the network and service requirements of each operator. These requirements have become increasingly complex and distinct. However, discerning key patterns in LTE-centric BSS selection criteria can help streamline the supplier’s product development and marketing objectives. What are the core selection criteria patterns today? Continue reading “BSS Selection Criteria: What Are Operators Prioritizing for LTE Solutions?”

Amdocs Data Science as a Service: Big Data Innovation Hope or Hype?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Amdocs introduced its DSaaS solution as part of the overall expansion of its BDA portfolio. Now, Amdocs must show it commands the channel resources, including BDA hosting centers, to drive and differentiate DSaaS.
  • Amdocs must overcome potential key barriers to operator adoption of DSaaS, including meeting country-specific storage laws, gaining operator trust for hosting valuable data sets, and proving the value of Hadoop-based BDA platforms.

Recently, Amdocs launched its Amdocs Data Science as a Service (DSaaS) solution as part of the expansion of its overall big data analytics (BDA) portfolio. The new solution targets operator interest in using cloud-based BDA to support applications such as executing data discovery health checks and situation-specific analytical application development. Amdocs touts using BDA centers distributed throughout EMEA, North America and Asia-Pacific to deliver the data management and data storage resources required to scale DSaaS. Amdocs can stake a marketing claim toward early targeting of the DSaaS space by a major OSS/BSS supplier, but must address key obstacles that could cause DSaaS to fizzle as the next new, must-have cloud-based application in the near future. Continue reading “Amdocs Data Science as a Service: Big Data Innovation Hope or Hype?”

Gigabit Broadband: Do We Need it? Why Not?

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Gigabit broadband is getting a lot of hype and press, and for good reason. While no current applications require such throughput, offering Gigabit services, especially at reasonable and/or disruptive prices, can be a very strong differentiator for operators. Likewise, it could prove much appreciated by end users, many of which are beyond fed up with their respective telco or cable providers.
  • Credit must be given to the pioneering Gigabit service providers. In North America they include utilities, municipalities and other non-traditional service providers, such as Electric Power Board (EPB) Chattanooga (first to offer mass market Gbps in the U.S.), Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU), CenturyLink, and of course, Google Fiber.

This week, the 2014 North American FTTH Council Conference and Expo is taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One of the hot topics is Gigabit broadband, with operators such as CenturyLink, EPB Chattanooga and GVTC all highlighting either their current Gigabit service offerings, or corresponding roadmaps for delivering 1 Gbps connections. For the record, CenturyLink is initiating Gigabit services in the Omaha, Nebraska metro, while EPB Chattanooga was the first service provider in the U.S. to offer Gigabit connections in a truly mass market fashion. For those unfamiliar with GVTC, the company founded as Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative, now serves 39,000 customers in the Texas hill country near San Antonio. While Gigabit broadband access services have been available for years in some very select, overseas markets (e.g., Hong Kong Broadband Network was a pioneer and remains the global Gigabit Poster Child), this mightiest of what is termed ultra-broadband is still available to only a very small fraction of global broadband subscribers. Also, for further clarification, any reference to ultra- or Gigabit broadband refers to wireline technology, as wireless networking solutions are a very long way from being able to support such extremely high-bandwidth connections. Continue reading “Gigabit Broadband: Do We Need it? Why Not?”

Is the Clock Ticking on Over-the-Air TV? Wait, What Is Over-the-Air TV?

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Over-the-air (OTA) free television has been a mass-market technology in North America and other regions for almost 70 years, but it may disappear altogether in the next five years, due to dramatically different TV/video delivery and consumption mechanisms, coupled with mobile operator efforts to acquire the current OTA TV spectrum.
  • The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ABC v. Aereo may result in the U.S. network broadcasters accelerating their exit from the OTA market, ultimately putting the last nails in the OTA TV coffin.

Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that only 6% of U.S. households rely on over-the-air (OTA) antennas, while 5% of households access their TV and video services exclusively via over-the-top (OTT) connections (which require broadband Internet access, e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV). More importantly, all indicators point towards OTT overtaking OTA within the next year. I’d argue there are a ton of devil-in-the-details factors that are more relevant than these two simple percentages, but the bottom line is OTA TV is likely to go the way of the dinosaur. Continue reading “Is the Clock Ticking on Over-the-Air TV? Wait, What Is Over-the-Air TV?”

Small Cells World Summit 2014: What Was Missing

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

As we discussed in our Small Cells World Summit roundup, there was a lot going on at the small cell industry’s annual confab last week – some of it old, some of it new. Yet, if one of the event’s themes was the nagging question of why deployments won’t ramp more quickly, we need to ask another question. What was missing from the event? What isn’t the industry talking about (or talking about enough) that may be important in helping it move forward?

From our perspective, two things stand out. Continue reading “Small Cells World Summit 2014: What Was Missing”

Small Cells World Summit 2014: Something Old, Something New

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

I spent last week in London at the Small Cells World Summit. If you’re looking for a recap of the main themes, you can check that out here.

If you want a shorter version, the event boiled down to two key themes: old stuff and new stuff. Simple, huh? Much of the vendor and operator messaging focused on issues that the market has been grappling with for a while. The slow maturing of solutions and slowly ramping deployments. Difficulties in actually siting small cells. The evolving definition of what a small cell is. The availability of many, competing small cell backhaul technologies and architectures – with little insight (yet) into which may win out. Continue reading “Small Cells World Summit 2014: Something Old, Something New”

Virtual EPCs Arrive Much Sooner Than Many Have Expected – But Where Is the Revenue?

Glenn Hunt
Glenn Hunt

Summary Bullets:

  • Predictions that EPC would be one of the first and most important NFV applications ring true; this month alone, we have seen not only technology/product announcements, but also POCs and even initial deployments.
  • Vendor opportunity appears to be wide open for both small and larger, well-established suppliers; given the software content, non-hardware vendors now have a chance to penetrate this early adopter market.

Now that the reality of virtualized network functions such as the mobile core and CPE is beginning to transition from the discussion and concept stage into proof of concept (PoC) and initial deployment in support of new operator service models, how will the vendor community be impacted from a profit and competitive perspective? June is shaping up to be a watershed month for virtual EPC (vEPC) announcements which point out that the mobile core is indeed one of the initial network functions to become fully virtualized and staged for deployment. A key observation is that not all of the announcements have come from traditional network suppliers, leaving no doubt that the market will become more crowded as startups and IT players join the traditional mobile core players. What seems clear is that the new vEPC model can help operators; what is somewhat less clear is how the new and existing suppliers will turn this market transition into profitable product sales – which are for the most part software-based. Continue reading “Virtual EPCs Arrive Much Sooner Than Many Have Expected – But Where Is the Revenue?”

LTE TDD: Driving the Universal Nature of LTE – Whether That’s Understood or Not

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

If I can believe my desk calendar, it’s almost summer. With the longest day of the year fast approaching, my mind has turned to all of the usual topics: fireworks, hot dogs, bitter jealousy aimed at European colleagues who take four-week vacations, LTE TDD.

Okay, summertime and LTE TDD might not go hand-in-hand, but there are some real reasons the TDD implementation of everyone’s favorite 4G technology has been on my mind. Earlier this month, I spent some time with my consumer analysts out in Kansas City visiting Sprint; with LTE TDD at the foundation of Sprint Spark, you know the technology was a major component of the discussions with them. This week, I’m sending some of my team to Shanghai in order to catch up with our friends at ZTE. Along with Huawei (which we visited in April), ZTE is expected to benefit significantly from LTE TDD deployments in China over the next year or so; the two vendors won the lion’s share of China Mobile’s LTE TDD awards. This was long-expected and the scale won in supplying these networks is expected to benefit them, particularly if the other Chinese mobile operators follow suit.

You can see why I’ve been thinking about the technology, right? Great. Then let me throw in another wrinkle. Continue reading “LTE TDD: Driving the Universal Nature of LTE – Whether That’s Understood or Not”

TM Forum Live 2014: Can Comptel and GE Bring More Than Fiber Fulfillment to Operators?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Comptel and GE collaborate to extend federated inventory management to streamline operator service fulfillment of fiber services
  • The alliance’s initial focus on fiber/FTTx applications undercuts its long-term potential to solve operator service fulfillment challenges in orchestrating IoT/digital apps within service packages

At the TM Forum Live! event that took place last week (June 2-5, 2014) in Nice, France, Comptel and GE collaborated to launch their collaborative federated inventory solution targeted at operator fiber and FTTx deployments. The collaboration expressly aimed to support operator objectives in federating access to the immense volume of data distributed among physical and logical inventory systems. Meeting the burgeoning operator demand for automated inventory management orchestration has driven expanded supplier investment as evidenced by Huawei’s acquisition of Fastwire. Continue reading “TM Forum Live 2014: Can Comptel and GE Bring More Than Fiber Fulfillment to Operators?”

Wait, the Hot New Technology Is DAS? Really?

Ed Gubbins
Ed Gubbins

My family will back me up on this: If I tell you that, until very recently, I’d never seen a TV commercial for distributed antenna systems (DAS) before, it’s not because I don’t watch much TV.

No, AT&T began airing ads touting its DAS and small-cell deployments this year, as a competitive claim to a higher-quality network. But the tectonic shift that would usher in DAS ads on TV, or (possibly) the term DAS permeating the mainstream lexicon, goes far beyond AT&T. DAS has definitely become a lot more visible in the past year or two. With greater attention these days to densifying networks and penetrating indoor commercial spaces, it would be odd for DAS not to enjoy at least some of the hype being showered upon small cells. Continue reading “Wait, the Hot New Technology Is DAS? Really?”