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.
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.
The AT&T SHAPE event, held in Burbank, California last week at the massive Warner Brothers studio lot, highlighted the impressive variety of media and entertainment assets that AT&T will gain with its pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
The AT&T SHAPE event showcased the company’s clear intent to transform AT&T from ‘the Phone Company’ into a 21st century media and entertainment juggernaut, which also just happens to have a very strong legacy in networking.
The AT&T SHAPE Technology and Entertainment Expo was held at the Warner Brothers studios July 14-15 in Burbank, California. The SHAPE event was quite different from previous AT&T events, primarily because of the strong focus on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Actually being ‘on location’ on the Warner Brothers lot drove this point home very effectively. However, the format for the event was familiar, in that it consisted of roughly one-hour sessions which were delivered in one of the Warner Brothers screening theaters. Approximately 10,000 people attended the event. The main theater where the sessions were hosted had more than 500 seats, with an overflow theater and live streaming of the main stage displayed on TV monitors in other locations throughout the Warner Brothers studio lot. Continue reading “AT&T Aims to SHAPE the Future of Entertainment with Time Warner Acquisition”→
Calix expanded its professional services portfolio throughout 2016, strengthening existing operator relationships, but experienced the difficulties of organically growing services.
Calix displayed significant services revenue growth during Q1 2017, but was challenged by a subsequent cost of revenue increase.
Over the past year, Calix, a network equipment provider specializing in fiber access solutions, made a concerted effort to expand its professional services organization. Acting on customer demand, the vendor, which primarily operates within North America, began investing in services including network planning, product installation, testing, and network turn-up. While Calix had a modest professional services organization prior to its ramp up, the expansion has significantly increased the role of services, both internally and externally. By the end of 2016, Calix hired a new services lead and fully committed to services expansion, adding expertise and capabilities. Continue reading “Calix Meets the Double-Edged Sword of Services Expansion”→
Open source MANO initiatives continue to divide opinion across both the vendor and carrier communities, recent polls show.
The wisest carriers are likely those pursuing a dual track strategy – using a commercial MANO offering to go to market now, while evaluating open source MANO offerings as potential alternatives for the future.
During GlobalData’s“Vive le Forum! A Recap of TM Forum Live! 2017” webinar in May, we invited attendees to respond to the poll question “Open Source MANO projects have now reduced to two (ONAP and OSM). Will this help to accelerate operator MANO procurement?” The results were as follows:
It was exactly a 50-50 split (honest!) between those who thought YES and those who thought NO, furthermore no particular YES or NO reason dominated. This suggests that open source MANO remains a divisive issue in the industry as a whole (and yes, both vendors and carriers were represented and responded across all four options).
An earlier survey in March conducted by SDxCentral tended to confirm this conclusion, reporting that “26% of Users Will Not Consider Open Source MANO”. In the same report, 49% also said that they will consider open source MANO solutions “once they are more mature.” Of course, no poll is ever an accurate portrayal of the real world and you can always poke holes in the questions, demographics and sample sizes, but I think we can conclude from the general drift of these results that, at least for now, open source MANO of any flavor, has not gained majority acceptance.
But will it ever gain that acceptance? Most players accepted and indeed welcomed open source initiatives in the VIM domain (OpenStack and OPNFV) and even its extension into the VNFM domain (OpenStack Tacker) – but open source in the NFVO and above? That came as a real surprise. GlobalData discussions with NFV MANO vendors at TM Forum Live! 2017 revealed a full spectrum of views on the “intrusion” of open source MANO into the market and whether incorporation – either piecemeal or wholesale – into vendor offerings was a good idea.
On the “far YES” side we found Amdocs maintaining a very positive view, given its position with AT&T, ECOMP and ONAP, effectively replacing its earlier commercial product with ONAP and even tweeting in May “These numbers would probably be significantly different if the survey was taken today #ONAP” in response to the SDN Central survey. On the “far NO” side, vendors like HPE were really concerned that, despite some of its advantages, the prospect of open source MANO alternatives has introduced an unwelcome “pause” in carrier minds that they can ill afford to take. Most other vendors are scattered somewhere in between, although more naturally clustered toward the “NO” end.
At the end of the day, however, it will be carriers, not vendors that decide the fate of open source MANO. Our impression at TM Forum Live! 2017 was that many of them indeed are just “waiting,” which we consider a risky strategy. The wisest carriers are likely those pursuing a dual track approach – using a commercial MANO offering to go to market now, while evaluating open source MANO offerings as potential alternatives for the future.