Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Industry thinking around 5G transport is quickly shifting from capacity upgrades to boosting transport networks’ performance and making them intelligent enough to cater to advanced 5G use cases.
  • Another key issue that operators will need to tackle is 5G transport diversity and complexity; as 5G radio site types diversify, operators will need to build more diverse transport networks to cover all types of sites in their network.

In the first wave of 5G deployments, operators and other players in the telecommunications ecosystem have focused primarily on innovation in radio access, allowing for key improvements next-gen radio brings to existing services like mobile broadband. But as operators start to focus on truly game-changing 5G functionality that will enable IIoT and other advanced use cases, the importance of rebuilding and rethinking transport networks for 5G becomes very clear. Continue reading “Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success”

COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• In their first round of quarterly results since the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, network operators provided few specifics on the true impact of the pandemic on 2020 outlooks.

• Most operators remain hopeful that a fuller picture of the impact of the disease will emerge in time for Q220 earnings releases, but that is likely to vary significantly by region and country.

With most of the world’s largest network operators now having chimed in on Q1 2020 earnings, what is clear is that little remains clear in terms of how COVID-19 will impact them this year. Most operators have withdrawn full-year guidance and have indicated that a reliable picture will not emerge until the true trajectory of COVID-19 becomes clear. Since that answer can vary significantly from country to country, region to region, and city to city, most operators lack the tools to provide reliable guidance. Continue reading “COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results”

Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Nokia has been excluded from the latest wave of 5G RAN rollouts by major Chinese mobile operators

• Though Nokia has strategies to overcome this obstacle, the underlying trends of geographic polarization don’t bode well for the industry.

Reporting its Q1 2020 earnings today, Nokia acknowledged that it has essentially been shut out of the Chinese 5G RAN market – the largest such market in the world.

This news didn’t come as a shock to anyone who had seen recent reports that – despite a fresh deal to supply China Unicom with a 5G core platform – Nokia was not named as a supplier in the latest wave of 5G RAN contracts awarded by China’s three major mobile operators. As usual, these procurements went mostly to China’s two major equipment vendors, with Huawei earning the lion’s share, and ZTE’s much smaller share still towering over that awarded to Sweden-based Ericsson. Continue reading “Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem”

COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Ericsson provided the most level of detail yet on the steps it has taken, both internal and customer-facing, in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Advanced planning emerges as a key feature of Ericsson’s approach, helping drive a number of important steps that should serve as a template for managing future crises.

As it released its first earnings report since COVID-19 began its rapid global spread, Ericsson took the opportunity to outline the various steps it has taken, both internally and externally, to plan for the known impacts and to predict the unknown effects. The actions taken by the company, which was one of the earliest to make the difficult decision to withdraw from this year’s MWC event in Barcelona, should serve as a case study for ‘how to get it right’ in the case of a crisis. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management”

COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• U.S. Cellular’s rapid increase in capacity, thanks to new spectrum access, highlights the importance of low-touch deployment and software in today’s radio networks.

• The likely extension of the ongoing lockdown raises the chances that current spectrum lending programs will need to be extended.

When it comes to COVID-19, telecommunications equipment vendors are somewhat at the mercy of forces beyond their control. In the U.S. in particular, reports of crew shortages available for tower climbs are abundant. However, with a boost from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), vendors are helping operators gain additional capacity by temporarily gaining access to new spectrum bands.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum”

COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Even as COVID-19 keeps everyone at home, mobile voice and messaging use have risen across the board.

• The increase in mobile voice traffic underlines its continued value in an era of over-the-top collaboration applications.

As most of the United States and Canada has joined Europe in a period of strict travel restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, network loads are changing in the ways one would expect: conferencing tools, streaming media, and gaming are driving huge increases in home broadband usage. But traditional mobile services are also exploding: AT&T reports that mobile voice minutes are up anywhere from 25-41% compared to an average (pre-COVID-19) day. Even mobile text messaging has increased around 40% compared to the period before the crisis. In Spain, mobile operators banded together to ask customers to shift their calls to landlines after a 50% rise in mobile calls. Continue reading “COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return”

GSMA to MWC20 Exhibitors: ‘Take It or Leave It’ on COVID-19 Refund Package

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of its flagship Barcelona event, MWCA exhibitors have been waiting for details on a rebate or refund program.
  • The package announced March 25 provides a cash refund for smaller exhibitors but realistically represents a ‘take it or leave it’ package of rebates toward future events.

Since the GSMA made the difficult decision to cancel its annual conference in Barcelona in February, exhibitors have been awaiting details on the association’s refund package promised by the end of March. Now that offer has been announced, and while cash refunds are being offered for some, the vast majority of exhibitors will need to accept a package of rebates – albeit generous – toward future shows. However, the package looks punitive toward exhibitors that acted responsibly in withdrawing from the conference before it was officially cancelled. Continue reading “GSMA to MWC20 Exhibitors: ‘Take It or Leave It’ on COVID-19 Refund Package”

Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • OTN transport provides excellent performance in traditional transport use cases, but standard OTN has disadvantages that hamper its use in networks carrying 5G, IoT, and private line traffic.
  • Huawei’s OTN offering aims to future-proof OTN and promote its use in a wider set of use cases.

With operators facing limitations in flexibility, granularity, and traffic differentiation in their OTN networks, Huawei is introducing extensions to the technology – called Liquid OTN. It aims to improve OTN’s applicability to traffic types like 5G transport, IoT, private lines, and AR/VR, but also with a view toward making the networks more flexible and amenable to automation. Continue reading “Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport”

Nokia-Marvell Partnership Targets Crucial 5G Performance Gap

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia announced a partnership with Marvell Technologies in March to address a significant gap in 5G radio.
  • The Marvell partnership should help accelerate Nokia’s deployment of SoC solutions, but the company’s ill-fated decision to deploy FPGA silicon will put a damper on its results throughout 2020.

Nokia announced a new partnership with semiconductor specialist Marvell Technologies in March, under which Marvell will develop silicon for Nokia’s 5G radios. The deal is a crucial factor in Nokia’s bid to regain momentum after making some design decisions that have left it struggling to compete with other radio vendors in winning new 5G business contracts. Continue reading “Nokia-Marvell Partnership Targets Crucial 5G Performance Gap”

NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The Next Generation Optical Forum (NGOF) was founded in 2017, gathering predominantly China-based telcos, academic institutions, equipment vendors, and component/chip suppliers; in 2020, the association wants to accelerate its work on the requirements for future optical networks.
  • The current focus of the NGOF is high-quality private line technology and standards, the new generations of OTN, and 5G transport-related technologies.

Who Is the NGOF?

Founded in 2017, the NGOF has around 40 members, including network operators, system vendors, component and chip vendors, testing equipment vendors, and academic organizations. Most members are Chinese or China-based; however, some (especially on the vendor and component side) are based outside of China. Continue reading “NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level”