Affirmed Sends a Signal: The Enterprise Will Feature Prominently in MWC17 Messaging (Hopefully Alongside Partners)

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • In an effort to expand beyond their traditional customer bases, service providers and the vendors selling into them have talked up the opportunity presented by diverse digital industries (vertical markets).
  • In announcing an upgrade to its virtualized IoT platform, Affirmed acknowledged the trend by partnering with Tech Mahindra in order to tap its “enterprise domain expertise.” Other vendors (and carriers) will doubtless follow suit at Mobile World Congress. To do the messaging right, they’ll need to involve partners.

Earlier this week, Affirmed Networks announced an upgrade to its IoT platform offer, including support for NB-IoT. Perhaps more importantly, the announcement called out work with Tech Mahindra to tap its enterprise domain expertise in supporting IoT rollouts.

Why would this be ‘more important’? Beyond consumer use cases, IoT is inherently about supporting specific enterprise applications – applications requiring intimate domain expertise. But, this is about more than just IoT. In an effort to expand their addressable markets, telecom vendors and carriers have been talking up their plans to target the enterprise. This messaging has been so loud and consistent that we’ve called it out as something we hope to concrete examples of at Mobile World Congress this year [see page 6]. And, to some extent, we’ve seen lots of enterprise-focused announcements within a telco context in the run-up to MWC. Read more of this post

The Perfect Storm of NFV & VoLTE Provides New Break-in Opportunities for Systems Integrators

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • A pre-integrated vVoLTE core network is only one part of an end-to-end VoLTE solution; more integration challenges remain, often beyond the resources of the average carrier.
  • Third-party systems integrators are providing carriers with a way to smooth their path to VoLTE rollout, while at the same time positioning themselves to manage services in the future.

In a previous blog post – prompted by a question raised in a webinar with Oracle, “How to Overcome VoLTE Deployment Challenges”, I asked whether deploying a virtualized VoLTE (vVoLTE) core network solution would prove to be just too much of a challenge for the average Tier 2/Tier 3 carrier. This is certainly a major concern: with both VoLTE and NFV being highly disruptive, implementing both simultaneously can end up being a ‘double whammy’ on the network infrastructure. My conclusion was that this impact could be mitigated by adopting a vendor’s pre-integrated vVoLTE core network solution, provided that it doesn’t lead to vendor lock-in. Read more of this post

AT&T, ECOMP and the Increasingly Difficult Pace of Virtualization

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Last week, AT&T leveraged its Shape event in San Francisco to unveil 5G launch plans, new virtualization goals for 2017, and herald the handover of ECOMP to the Linux Foundation.
  • While not immediately obvious, open-sourcing ECOMP and meeting its virtualization goals (75% of network functions by 2020) are intimately linked because, every year, virtualizing additional functions will only become harder and harder – and AT&T will need all the support it can find.

Last week, AT&T held its co-called Shape event in San Francisco.  On the agenda: progress with its AirGig solution, initial commercial 5G markets for this year and 2017 virtualization goals, and success in moving continued development of its ECOMP platform to the Linux Foundation.  Coming out of the event, an article from SDxCentral called out that these last two items were intrinsically linked – open sourcing ECOMP is critical to helping AT&T execute on its long-term virtualization goals. Read more of this post

2G Shutdowns, Multivendor NFV: The Glacial Pace of Telecom Change vs. Future Aspirations

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Last week, AT&T highlighted how it had shut down its 2G network on January 1st. On the same day, Ericsson announced it had worked with Cisco to address Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s SDN and NFV needs.
  • While not formally linked, both events showcase how slowly telecom service providers change the way they think about and run their networks – with implications for IoT and 5G plans.

Last Monday was a holiday in the U.S. The good folks at AT&T, Cisco and Ericsson, however, weren’t taking it easy. They had news to announce.

AT&T – with a blog post from Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan – started off the week by talking up the shutdown of its 2G network at the start of the year, positioning it as a part of their 5G network evolution. Ericsson and Cisco had their own milestone: following the signature of a “global business and technology partnership” back in November 2015, the two network infrastructure heavyweights were eager to announce a joint win at Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), supplying SDN and NFV solutions including data center assets, SDN controllers, service and network orchestration products, and VNFs. While the two had already won other joint deals, the win at VHA was heralded as “the first major collaboration between Ericsson and Cisco on Telecom Cloud infrastructure.” Read more of this post

RAN Vendors Targeting Enterprises Aren’t Waiting for 5G

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • The lull between 4G and 5G operator spending motivates RAN vendors to penetrate enterprises before 5G, aided by new RAN technologies relevant to enterprises.
  • In penetrating enterprises, even RAN vendors with enterprise businesses face challenging organizational changes and market hurdles.

When RAN vendors talk about 5G, much of the discussion tends to involve targeting enterprise verticals and the Internet of Things (IoT). Take Ericsson, for example, demonstrating unmanned construction vehicles and remote surgery concepts. But, like many elements of their 5G discussions, RAN vendors aren’t waiting for 5G to target enterprises. Read more of this post

NFV MANO Templating: Being “Open” with Your Hard-Won Experience Becomes a New Competitive Differentiator

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • December 2016 saw a flurry of high impact NFV MANO market developments and suddenly everyone is talking “templating.”
  • Contributing VNF templating experience and tools to the “open” market does not come naturally to telecom vendors, but it’s now well on its way to being a competitive advantage.

Though it’s still early days, December 2016 was something of a high spot for NFV MANO.

During the month, AT&T proudly announced that it had finally got some public operator buy-in for ECOMP, reporting that first Orange and then Bell Canada were testing its platform. After that, a rather uninspiring term, templating, came to the fore and suddenly became a “hot topic”. Read more of this post

2016: What Was Most Important in the Service Provider Network (or, at Least, Most Read About)

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • By looking to our top-read analyses of 2016, we can paint a picture of what was top-of-mind for telecom network players – operators and vendors – over the past 12 months.
  • Key themes included SDN and NFV, IoT, and the rivalry between Nokia and Ericsson. This also implies other important themes were getting less attention than they probably should.

While it’s common for the start of a new year to be accompanied by predictions for telecom and technology markets, it’s just as important to look back at the year that just passed. Why? While predictions are speculative, highlights from the past 12 months point to very real trends and themes. What’s more, most good predictions recognize that the themes and trends of 2017 will be built from (evolutions of) the themes and trends of 2016. Read more of this post