COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• In their first round of quarterly results since the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, network operators provided few specifics on the true impact of the pandemic on 2020 outlooks.

• Most operators remain hopeful that a fuller picture of the impact of the disease will emerge in time for Q220 earnings releases, but that is likely to vary significantly by region and country.

With most of the world’s largest network operators now having chimed in on Q1 2020 earnings, what is clear is that little remains clear in terms of how COVID-19 will impact them this year. Most operators have withdrawn full-year guidance and have indicated that a reliable picture will not emerge until the true trajectory of COVID-19 becomes clear. Since that answer can vary significantly from country to country, region to region, and city to city, most operators lack the tools to provide reliable guidance. Continue reading “COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results”

Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Nokia has been excluded from the latest wave of 5G RAN rollouts by major Chinese mobile operators

• Though Nokia has strategies to overcome this obstacle, the underlying trends of geographic polarization don’t bode well for the industry.

Reporting its Q1 2020 earnings today, Nokia acknowledged that it has essentially been shut out of the Chinese 5G RAN market – the largest such market in the world.

This news didn’t come as a shock to anyone who had seen recent reports that – despite a fresh deal to supply China Unicom with a 5G core platform – Nokia was not named as a supplier in the latest wave of 5G RAN contracts awarded by China’s three major mobile operators. As usual, these procurements went mostly to China’s two major equipment vendors, with Huawei earning the lion’s share, and ZTE’s much smaller share still towering over that awarded to Sweden-based Ericsson. Continue reading “Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem”

COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Ericsson provided the most level of detail yet on the steps it has taken, both internal and customer-facing, in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Advanced planning emerges as a key feature of Ericsson’s approach, helping drive a number of important steps that should serve as a template for managing future crises.

As it released its first earnings report since COVID-19 began its rapid global spread, Ericsson took the opportunity to outline the various steps it has taken, both internally and externally, to plan for the known impacts and to predict the unknown effects. The actions taken by the company, which was one of the earliest to make the difficult decision to withdraw from this year’s MWC event in Barcelona, should serve as a case study for ‘how to get it right’ in the case of a crisis. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management”

COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• U.S. Cellular’s rapid increase in capacity, thanks to new spectrum access, highlights the importance of low-touch deployment and software in today’s radio networks.

• The likely extension of the ongoing lockdown raises the chances that current spectrum lending programs will need to be extended.

When it comes to COVID-19, telecommunications equipment vendors are somewhat at the mercy of forces beyond their control. In the U.S. in particular, reports of crew shortages available for tower climbs are abundant. However, with a boost from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), vendors are helping operators gain additional capacity by temporarily gaining access to new spectrum bands.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum”

COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Even as COVID-19 keeps everyone at home, mobile voice and messaging use have risen across the board.

• The increase in mobile voice traffic underlines its continued value in an era of over-the-top collaboration applications.

As most of the United States and Canada has joined Europe in a period of strict travel restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, network loads are changing in the ways one would expect: conferencing tools, streaming media, and gaming are driving huge increases in home broadband usage. But traditional mobile services are also exploding: AT&T reports that mobile voice minutes are up anywhere from 25-41% compared to an average (pre-COVID-19) day. Even mobile text messaging has increased around 40% compared to the period before the crisis. In Spain, mobile operators banded together to ask customers to shift their calls to landlines after a 50% rise in mobile calls. Continue reading “COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return”

COVID-19 Could Accelerate Wireless Industry 4.0

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate investment in wireless solutions for the digital, ‘big data’ transformation of enterprise verticals sometimes called ‘Industry 4.0.’
  • Changes made in response to both social distancing and recession-induced workforce reductions could last long after the threat of the virus subsides.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is already expected to transform society in fundamental and irrevocable ways that we can’t yet fully predict. One effect of this transformation may be to accelerate initiatives to deploy cellular network technologies, such as LTE and 5G, to fundamentally reorder industrial operations across a range of enterprise verticals. This trend is already underway, as enterprises investigate the benefits of wireless networks that provide more reliability, and lower latency, than WiFi. However, the sudden and severe disruption that COVID-19 has wrought could force near-term changes among enterprises that lead to lasting practices. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19 Could Accelerate Wireless Industry 4.0”

COVID-19: 5G-Connected Hospital and Wireless Network in Ten Days

Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• ZTE and China Telecom rapidly constructed a wireless network to transmit large images (CT scans), perform remote diagnoses and remotely connect medical professionals over a 5G network.

• The project establishes a model that could be used at other “pop-up” and established hospitals to combat COVID-19 and future viruses and help protect health care workers.


Source: CGTN

The telecom industry has hyped 5G technologies as the “be all and end all” for our networks moving forward (although 6G is now being incubated in board rooms across the globe). But, just how much of 5G is ready for prime time deployments? The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a sudden and widespread explosion in the need to support millions of workers and students videoconferencing simultaneously from home, and has created an acute need to deal with ballooning medical services.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has not given the industry or the world any time to debate and test a blueprint for how to move forward; but we have seen examples in which 5G can help. When faced with the need to react “yesterday”, adding tried-and-true technologies like fiber to deliver much needed bandwidth require significant manpower, equipment, and most importantly time – all currently in short supply. Thus, demand is likely to increase deeply for wireless network solutions to address needs of telemedicine and other critical services needed to help cope with the current crisis – and quickly set the foundational elements for moving forward to address future crises post COVID-19. Continue reading “COVID-19: 5G-Connected Hospital and Wireless Network in Ten Days”

COVID-19 Could Spur Demand for Fixed Wireless Access – Both 4G and 5G

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase demand for fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions to fill gaps in fiber broadband networks.

• 5G FWA has a mixed reputation but is improving; meanwhile, LTE-based FWA may be useful for serving some immediate needs

The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a sudden and widespread explosion in telecommuting, as countless employees who can work from home now do. In many cases, these new telecommuters are using live videoconferencing tools that are sharing home-broadband bandwidth with children who have been sent home from school. The result is a sharp increase in home broadband needs. Where residences have access to fiber, these capacity needs may not be hard to meet. But fiber doesn’t reach every residence; any number of obstacles – including geographical or regulatory ones, or even sheer distance – might get in the way. Thus, demand is likely to increase deeply for fixed-wireless access solutions to fill in the gaps in fiber broadband networks. Continue reading “COVID-19 Could Spur Demand for Fixed Wireless Access – Both 4G and 5G”

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”

Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • OTN transport provides excellent performance in traditional transport use cases, but standard OTN has disadvantages that hamper its use in networks carrying 5G, IoT, and private line traffic.
  • Huawei’s OTN offering aims to future-proof OTN and promote its use in a wider set of use cases.

With operators facing limitations in flexibility, granularity, and traffic differentiation in their OTN networks, Huawei is introducing extensions to the technology – called Liquid OTN. It aims to improve OTN’s applicability to traffic types like 5G transport, IoT, private lines, and AR/VR, but also with a view toward making the networks more flexible and amenable to automation. Continue reading “Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport”