Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017: From Connected Cows to 5G Core Network (R)evolution

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • This year’s Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum included a strong focus on 5G core network evolution.
  • Unlike discrete access technology evolution, the 5G core network must evolve smoothly into a radically new form (and so must carrier organizations).

This year’s Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF 2017) was held in London and boasted a record attendance of 1,400. Nevertheless, that particular number (of people) was completely eclipsed by the ‘number clouds’ appearing on massive screens behind Huawei’s CEO, Ken Hu, as he delivered his opening pitch. Driven by the increasing number of machines which will be connected to the 5G network in the coming years, cows – connected cows; one billion of them – were his first 5G use-case illustration. Continue reading “Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017: From Connected Cows to 5G Core Network (R)evolution”

AT&T and Verizon Send Shot Across the Bow of TowerCos with Tillman Alliance

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T and Verizon announced a joint venture with Tillman Infrastructure under which Tillman will build hundreds of cell towers across the country. Both AT&T and Verizon will lease and co-anchor towers built under the agreement.
  • The deal is likely designed to pressure ‘big three’ tower companies Crown Castle, American Tower and SBA Communications to negotiate more favorable terms, but it is not clear Tillman has the clout to have much of an impact on operators’ bargaining positions.

AT&T and Verizon announced a joint venture with Tillman Infrastructure on November 13th under which Tillman will build hundreds of cell towers across the country. Both AT&T and Verizon will lease and co-anchor towers built under the agreement. The operators indicate that the deal enables them to build towers exactly where they are needed; in practice, the Tillman deal provides AT&T and Verizon with an alternative to leasing space from tower companies such as Crown Castle, American Tower and SBA Communications. Continue reading “AT&T and Verizon Send Shot Across the Bow of TowerCos with Tillman Alliance”

Looking at the Good & Bad News in Q3 2017 Telecom Vendor Financial Results

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • 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.

The Bad News: Revenues Down

With the results now in for Q3 2017, it’s clear it was a rough quarter for many vendors. Results were perhaps most striking for ZTE (consolidated results shown), which experienced a nearly 8% decline compared to the prior year quarter. ZTE’s results were a distinct reversal from the first half of 2017, in which the company grew revenue 13% year-to-year. Continue reading “Looking at the Good & Bad News in Q3 2017 Telecom Vendor Financial Results”

What’s Wrong with AT&T’s Silicon Valley Edge Computing Test Zone?

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T announced that it is building an “Edge Computing Test Zone” in Palo Alto, Calif to support developers and other AT&T partners in rolling out a diverse set of edge applications.
  • Given AT&T’s support for edge computing, the move isn’t surprising. However, it does raise questions about the set of use cases highlighted, and a specific call-out to wireless networks as well as the lack of any reference to network slicing are disappointing.

As a member of ETSI’s Multi-Access Edge Computing group (MEC) and a prime driver of the ONF’s CORD (central office re-architected as a data center) specifications, AT&T’s interest in edge computing is no secret. Combined with a penchant for announcing its networking innovations and achievements, the carrier’s announcement of an Edge Computing Test Zone should have surprised nobody.

In very real terms, then, there’s nothing wrong with AT&T’s forthcoming “Test Zone” in Palo Alto, California. It aligns with AT&T’s interests and makes sense for any carrier planning to integrate edge computing into its network architecture in the future. It’s a good idea; getting developers engaged is critical for ensuring that they will be ready to support AT&T’s network evolution plans with compelling applications. But it also falls short in a number of fundamental ways. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with AT&T’s Silicon Valley Edge Computing Test Zone?”

TCS Analyst Day: TCS Is Ready to Radicalize Agile Software Development

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • TCS promoted its agile software development strategy at the company’s TCS Analyst Day, advocating a radical departure from traditional software development approaches, particularly in the scoping and budgeting areas.
  • With its articulation of agile software development requirements, TCS gains a marketing boost in driving more agile software development, but must strengthen DevOps-related standards credentials and address the specific requirements of telcos.

At the recent Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Analyst Day, throughout various sessions and its ‘Perspectives’ publication, TCS advocated the case for agile software development requiring profound changes in budgeting and scoping. Research indicates that nearly two-thirds of the features built into systems using traditional (i.e., waterfall) software development processes are rarely or never used, and the 20% that are used provide 80% of the value to customers. Traditional methods entail scoping system requirements which warrant a detailed estimation based on extensive upfront requirements of the whole system. In parallel, cost estimates are based on detailed upfront estimates of system scope and schedule. Continue reading “TCS Analyst Day: TCS Is Ready to Radicalize Agile Software Development”

ZTE’s European Success: What’s the Story?

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • 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?”

Open Source MANO Projects – What Did We Learn From the SDN NFV World Congress 2017?

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• This year’s SDN NFV World Congress was marked by the two major open source MANO projects firing salvos at each other.

• At the end of the day, operators will choose what ‘works on the ground’, and that will be sourced from vendors and systems integrators, not open source groups.

This year’s “fifth anniversary of NFV” SDN NFV World Congress in The Hague, Netherlands prompted many appraisals of industry progress. One of the most fundamental developments during this period has been the inexorable rise of open source software. This has been particularly surprising in the NFV Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) space, generating a vast amount of activity and subsequent consolidation that has now distilled into two major open source projects vying for leadership: Open Source MANO (OSM) and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). With an OSM Workshop on the Monday and an ONAP Mini-Summit on the Thursday, the two projects comprehensively “bookended” the Congress. Operators and vendors sometimes referenced one or other (or both) during the intervening days, so there could be no doubt as to their importance to the industry.

Continue reading “Open Source MANO Projects – What Did We Learn From the SDN NFV World Congress 2017?”