AT&T’s AirGig Announcement: Why Now?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T wasn’t very candid in explaining how its latest lab project works, a twist on broadband over powerline.
  • Multiple forces might have given the operator reason to announce AirGig now, before it could say much.

AT&T’s announcement last week of a new technology dubbed AirGig was striking for a few reasons. One was the novelty of the technology itself, which enigmatically promised to transmit wireless signals around power lines rather than through them, putting a new spin on old broadband-over-powerline tech concepts and posing the possibility of self-backhauling mesh networks deployed along the power grid that could deliver 4G and 5G services to the home.

Another thing that was striking about AT&T’s announcement of AirGig was just how little about it the company was at liberty to discuss. For starters, how does the technology work, exactly? AT&T declined to elaborate much. How far could these networks (which use millimeter waves without necessarily being restricted to them and provide both access and backhaul) extend from a wireline backhaul source? It wouldn’t say. How would they be powered if, as AT&T offered, they wouldn’t need to physically connect to the power grid? Inductive (wireless) power transmission is one approach, the company said, but left it at that.

So, why announce a technology that is still being developed if you can’t say much about it? Read more of this post

The ‘Open’ Telecom Application Server (TAS): Helping Carriers Go ‘Beyond VoLTE’

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Deploying just VoLTE makes little difference to carrier voice revenues or competitiveness; carriers now need ‘beyond VoLTE’ services differentiation.
  • Such service differentiation is sparking a new wave of vendor telecom application server (TAS) offerings and openness.

Nokia recently launched a new version of its TAS (see here), positioning it as a ‘beyond VoLTE’ offering. Nokia, however, isn’t the first to focus on the ‘beyond VoLTE’ business issue. Oracle Communications did something similar last year (see here), and in April, OpenCloud went as far as to produce a downloadable software package for ‘VoLTE service development’ on its own application server (see here). Read more of this post

Nokia Enables NBN’s Nationwide Broadband Goals: A Snapshot from Down Under

Erik Keith - Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is on the path to fulfilling its namesake, i.e., bringing broadband connectivity to all of Australia, over copper, fiber and cable wireline networks, as well as fixed wireless and satellite networks for remote locations (e.g., the Outback).

• Nokia is providing the majority of NBN’s fixed access networking systems. As such, NBN is a showcase customer for Nokia while also serving as an example of how nationwide broadband can be achieved leveraging multiple access technologies.

The first day of September, coincidentally the first day of spring in Australia, NBN hosted a field trip for analysts and journalists in the outskirts of Brisbane, Queensland. The field trip was preceded by Nokia’s Fixed Networks Global Analyst Conference, as well as a press and analyst briefing with NBN in Sydney. NBN’s goal is to connect every Australian premise by 2020, with a minimum broadband bandwidth of 25 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world, with a land area of 7.6 million square kilometers (2.9 million square miles), roughly the same size as the contiguous U.S. However, Australia’s population of 24 million is concentrated primarily on the continent’s east and southern coasts, in the metro areas of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, correlating respectively to the ctates of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. NBN is overbuilding and supplementing the existing Telstra network, and provides an open access model, allowing multiple, competing service providers to deliver value-added services such as pay-TV over the network. Read more of this post

Telefónica’s End-to-End Digitalization: How Can Suppliers Capitalize on Operator Digital Strategies?

Ron Westfall - Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • In September, Telefónica Global CIO Phil Jordan outlined Telefónica’s end-to-end digitalization strategy that focuses on both how it interacts with customers and how it can make internal operations more efficient. The strategy requires digitalization in the front that spans the customer-facing omni-channel spectrum; and digitalization in the back that fundamentally streamlines its organization and operational processes.
  • The Telefónica approach provides a strong checklist of digital transformation demands that OSS/BSS suppliers must meet in order to deepen their operator relationships. Without an end-to-end digital platform offering, OSS/BSS suppliers risk becoming sidelined in operator digital transformation journeys.

At the Amdocs Digital Executive Summit during the 2016 CTIA Super Mobility show, Telefónica Global CIO Phil Jordan provided a view of Telefónica’s end-to-end (E2E) digitalization strategy and vision. Telefónica recognizes that the emerging competitive pressures within the digital services landscape require operators to transform their business models and operations; in other words, ‘do or die.’ For Telefónica, these competitive pressures include growing competition from Google Fiber; satellite TV provider Sky, which plans to offer mobile service in the UK later in 2016 (ironically on Telefónica’s O2 network); other new MVNOs such as Dixons Carphone; OTT substitutes including public WiFi, Skype, and Facebook Messenger; and the evolving digital strategies of traditional telco rivals. This trend has compelled Telefónica to adapt its operational and business processes in order to scale and keep pace with the demand curve of digital customers. Read more of this post

What Does ‘5G-Ready’ Mean for Mobile Operators?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Network equipment vendors have been pushing mobile operators to begin evolving their LTE networks toward 5G for some time.
  • Though vendors have their own reasons for this push, operators have several reasons to heed their advice.
  • At the same time, operators do need to avoid moving too early toward 5G.

For some time now, vendors of mobile access infrastructure have been urging operators to start evolving their networks toward 5G, well in advance of the technology being concretely defined.

Read more of this post

600 MHz Incentive Auction Spectrum: 5G or Not 5G, That’s a Big Question

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Among the unknowns surrounding the 600 MHz incentive auction, the question of what technology will get deployed in the spectrum is dividing the industry.
  • Technology providers need to settle on a consistent, external message in order to ensure the industry moves forward along with their own priorities.

Not surprisingly, the FCC’s ongoing, 600 MHz incentive auction was a frequent topic of conversation at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week this year. Where any operator actively involved in the auction wasn’t allowed to talk about it, everyone else was free to discuss anything from how long it might go on to who might win and how much they’d end up paying. One question, however, seemed to generate more debate than any other: what technology – LTE or 5G – would eventually get deployed in the spectrum? Read more of this post