Networks and services cannot be divorced from the vendors that help to make them a reality. The Vendor Transformation posts look to ways in which network infrastructure suppliers are competing or otherwise evolving themselves – for good or bad.
• KPN is taking a leadership position in driving its vendor community toward more sustainable practices. Other operators are likely reviewing KPN’s “Circular Manifesto” as a template for how they should revise their own sustainability initiatives.
• Telecom technology and software vendors are increasingly being pushed by their key operator customers to commit to adopt manufacturing and production practices that rely on reusable or recyclable components, as well as renewable energy sources.
Revenue was down year-to-year for Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco and even ZTE, which had carried positive growth for H1 2017. But, vendors are generally doing a good job driving out costs in order to increase profitability.
On their face, Ericsson’s Q3 2017 results reflected a company facing multiple challenges and a lengthy road to recovery. However, there were signs of light indicating that the fundamental business may return to solid footing once painful restructuring initiatives are completed.
This week, ZTE announced 5G network testing trials in Europe with Wind Tre and Orange, building on previous high-profile work with Telefonica and Telenet.
Financial stability when compared with its European vendor counterparts could explain the success, but the story goes much deeper, including the right 5G strategy and targeted marketing.
This week, ZTE announced its Q3 2017 earnings. For the most part, the results weren’t too surprising. Revenues for the first nine months of 2017 were up (though down in Q3 2017 compared to 2016). Profits were up significantly. The company did not report on the geographic makeup of its revenues, but if they resembled the vendor’s mid-year results, it’s safe to assume that China continues to the biggest contributor to ZTE’s sales; it was ~60% of mid-year revenues and the most profitable of the reported regions. Continue reading “ZTE’s European Success: What’s the Story?”→
Ongoing questions around CBRS priority access license (PAL) terms suggest that licenses won’t likely be available until a year from now.
Without priority access, CBRS will still roll out; many use cases don’t require it. However, the sooner PAL terms are decided on and licenses auctioned, the better it will be for driving the industry forward.
The concept of marketing new technologies or solutions around use cases seems like a logical way to link deployment to real world carrier requirements and opportunities.
Use case marketing is also a not-so-subtle way to suggest that competitor messaging is based on hype more than reality, in the process flagging areas where a vendor potentially sees itself at a perceived competitive disadvantage it needs to counter.
Over the past year, the stock performance of ZTE and Ericsson has diverged, with ZTE’s share price up almost 60% over a year ago and Ericsson down almost 20%.
With Ericsson being a traditional telecom networking leader and ZTE just outside the top three players in the market, their stock performance tells a broader story about the market’s view of telecom and market concentration.
• NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments are proliferating. Proofs of concept abound, but neither technology appears to be generating significant momentum yet.
• Regardless of the technology, moving beyond connectivity is vital to mobile operator success in IoT.
In the past six months, cellular operators worldwide have been rapidly deploying narrowband (NB)-IoT and LTE-M. In June, the GSMA announced the success of its Mobile IoT Initiative, claiming nearly 75 operators deploying NB-IoT or Cat-M and 500 members in its Mobile IoT Innovators initiative designed to help operators add IoT value. The bulk of this focus has been on NB-IoT, which cellular operators are using to establish new use cases, including smart agriculture and a variety of smart cities applications involving lighting, parking meters, smart buildings and the like. For example, T-Mobile USA completed live NB-IoT smart city trials in July 2017 in advance of a planned national launch.