Why It’s Already Time to Start Talking About 5.5G

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei has begun promoting “5.5G,” assigning it three new capabilities related to faster uplink, real-time broadband, and harmonization

• 5G is already evolving faster than 4G; going forward, the conventions of technology branding may change

For much of the previous decade, the mobile telecom industry promised that 5G would arrive in 2020. Now we’re only a few months past 2020, and we’re starting to hear more about the next steps: 6G won’t arrive until 2030, but in 2025, there’s 5.5G. Continue reading “Why It’s Already Time to Start Talking About 5.5G”

Huawei Annual Report Shows Increasing Reliance on Home Market in Response to Geopolitical Challenges

John Byrne, Service Director

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei posted modest growth in 2020 despite pandemic-related challenges; however, the company relied heavily on its domestic market while revenue outside China declined significantly.
  • The Chinese market alone makes Huawei one of the largest ICT providers in the world; however, the company’s global supply chain will continue to pose significant challenges.

The 2020 annual report released by Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei Technologies shows the company’s share of revenue coming from its home market rose sharply in 2020, increasing to nearly two-thirds of total revenue. In total, Huawei reported revenue of CNY 891.4 billion, or $136.7 billion, in 2020. The company managed to increase revenue nearly 4% compared to the prior year – an impressive feat in the midst of a global pandemic. Continue reading “Huawei Annual Report Shows Increasing Reliance on Home Market in Response to Geopolitical Challenges”

2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Orchestration of IP infrastructure resources will become mainstream, replacing fragmented element and network management solutions to reduce complexity and operational cost.
  • 5G private network initiatives will go global as operators position to capture lucrative new 5G network opportunities and address the needs of multiple vertical markets.

Resource Orchestration Matures

5G services and applications are driving more routed IP traffic into the network, with the traditional role of switched Layer 2 Ethernet traffic being sidelined and replaced by more dynamic routed IP flows. This is prevalent in the mobile transport and business Ethernet services domains, which were the last frontier that could claim a cost and simplicity advantage by remaining at Layer 2. The maturation of SDN, which supports a centralized control plane and distributed data plane, has been augmented with simplified routing protocols such as segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which minimize the need for complex node-based management and control intelligence. It is painfully clear that the telco infrastructure must be fully automated in order to avoid being crushed by its own weight. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year”

5G Services: Embracing 5G’s Benefits While Taming Its Complexity

Andy Hicks, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Carriers are coming face to face with 5G’s increased scale and complexity as well as the need to monetize network investments by developing many more services than before.
  • To design, deploy, and operate 5G networks profitably, carriers will need to increase automation, adopt AI, and select the right ecosystem partners.

With the July 2020 completion of 3GPP Release 16, we now have the first round of specifications for a full, end-to-end 5G network. Most wireless carriers have started to plan their journey to 5G, and a few are already providing 5G SA connections. During every stage of this journey, carriers are coming face to face with 5G’s increased complexity: more network nodes to install and maintain, more parameters to adjust, and more services to design and operate. Continue reading “5G Services: Embracing 5G’s Benefits While Taming Its Complexity”

Telefonica Germany-AWS Affiliation Points to a Much Greater Role for Public Cloud in 5G Mobile Core

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Telefonica Germany / O2 plans to build its 5G core network in the AWS public cloud, along with a host of 5G network functions to support Industrial Internet applications, beginning in 2021.

• The announcement raises intriguing questions about the future role that AWS and other public cloud platforms may be carving out in telecommunications infrastructure, and who will ultimately succeed in helping operators manage – and profit from – 5G network deployments.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced on September 2 that Telefonica Germany / O2 would become the first German network operator to build a 5G core network in the public cloud, along with a host of 5G network functions to support Industrial Internet applications. Telefónica Germany / O2 will put its cloud-based, Ericsson-supplied 5G core network into commercial use in 2021. Continue reading “Telefonica Germany-AWS Affiliation Points to a Much Greater Role for Public Cloud in 5G Mobile Core”

Nokia’s New CEO Has Reasons for Optimism

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• One era ended and another began, with new CEO Pekka Lundmark taking the reins August 1.

• While the company faces a host of challenges and questions to address, there are many recent signs of hope.

Nokia began life under its new CEO, Pekka Lundmark, on August 1 following the departure of his predecessor, Rajeev Suri. Lundmark’s appointment had been announced in March; he had originally planned to begin September 1 but the start date accelerated by one month from the original plan.

The appointment of Lundmark to the helm marks the end of what was an impressive 11-year tenure for Suri, who provided steady leadership through a tumultuous period that included the merger of Nokia and Siemens, and after a lengthy integration period, the eventual acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. Continue reading “Nokia’s New CEO Has Reasons for Optimism”

TM Forum’s ODA Vision Gains Ground, but Vendor Partner Choices Are Still Critical

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • TM Forum’s ‘Open Digital Architecture’ (ODA) vision has received a major endorsement from several Tier 1 telcos and leading IT vendors.
  • While one of ODA’s goals is to enable best-of-breed procurement on a much more granular level, telcos will need to make a major vendor partnership decision to help them reach that goal.

This week, TM Forum announced that eleven new telcos and vendors had signed on to its ‘Open Digital Architecture,’ which incorporates cloud-native design principles as well as telco-specific processes and a focus on governance. In aggregate, these companies constitute a substantial industry endorsement: the telcos include BT, Chunghwa Telecom, DT, Telefonica, and Telenor; the vendors include major rivals Amdocs, Netcracker, Nokia, and Oracle. Continue reading “TM Forum’s ODA Vision Gains Ground, but Vendor Partner Choices Are Still Critical”

U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses

Summary Bullets:

• The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DoC) move to prohibit Huawei from buying components manufactured using U.S.-made foundry machines and silicon design tools has major implications for Huawei’s continued operations.

• However, it will also bring immediate negative effects on component suppliers (some U.S.-based), impact competition among ICT vendors, and produce uncertainty going forward.

New sanctions announced by the U.S. DoC on May 15 prohibit foundries using U.S.-made machines and software from selling chips to Huawei. In practical terms, this means that Huawei’s key silicon suppliers – Taiwanese TSMC and Chinese SMIC – would likely need to halt production of Huawei subsidiary’s HiSilicon chip designs. The immediate prospect for Huawei is especially bleak considering that the great majority of the world’s foundries use U.S.-sourced hardware or software in some parts of their process. Continue reading “U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses”

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”

U.S. Government Control of Western Telecoms Vendors Would Be Naïve – and Damaging to U.S. Companies

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr suggested the U.S. and its allies should consider buying a controlling stake in Nokia or Ericsson to compete more effectively in 5G.
  • Beyond being hypocritical and practically unworkable, the proposal runs counter to ongoing open RAN initiatives which could help U.S. vendors thrive in 5G by innovating.

Giving the keynote address at the U.S. Department of Justice’s China Initiative conference on February 6, U.S. Attorney General William Barr raised eyebrows by suggesting that the U.S. and its allies should consider buying a controlling stake in Nokia or Ericsson. The argument is that, while both vendors have proven successful in managing customers’ migration from 4G to 5G, they lack Huawei’s scale as well as the backing of a powerful country like China. Continue reading “U.S. Government Control of Western Telecoms Vendors Would Be Naïve – and Damaging to U.S. Companies”