How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:
• DAS will face steep hurdles in evolving to the 5G era.

• Vendors of distributed small-cell enterprise RAN solutions, once content to aim down-market from DAS, are increasingly aimed at competing with DAS head-on, exploiting DAS’s 5G vulnerabilities.

• However, any threat posed to DAS by 5G is likely to take years to have effect, increasing the long-term uncertainty surrounding these trends.

5G — in its early implementations, at least, aimed at mobile broadband, rather than the Internet of Things (IoT) — will be more evolution than revolution, boosting speeds that were already increasing steadily via advances in LTE technology. But in at least one respect, even 5G mobile broadband promises to do something truly disruptive: It could mean the demise of DAS.

That’s no small matter. Some estimates put the global DAS market well north of $6 billion annually. Walk into any stadium, hospital, shopping mall, or big-box store and make a mobile call; odds are you’re using a DAS, a carrier-neutral network that distributes the signals of multiple operators using shared antennas and other gear so that each operator doesn’t need its own separate in-building network. Continue reading “How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)”

ZTE’s Forced ‘Hibernation’ Prompts Changes in GlobalData Coverage

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • In light of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s April 15, 2018 activation of the denial order suspending ZTE’s export privileges for seven years, and ZTE’s May 9, 2018 announcement that it has ceased major operating activities, GlobalData has adjusted all its ZTE Company Assessment and Product Assessment rankings to ‘Vulnerable.’
  • If and when ZTE is able to return to normal operations, we will update these reports and ratings accordingly. However, if the U.S. Department of Commerce does not reverse its ruling, ZTE’s ability to continue as a going concern will be jeopardized.

The ongoing, existential threat to ZTE from the stiff sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce last month has required GlobalData to revise its product and company rankings across the board to our lowest rating of ‘Vulnerable.’ The revisions affect ZTE assessments across all of our coverage areas, including Mobile Access, Fixed Multimedia Access, Transport & Routing, IP Services Infrastructure, Service Enablement Ecosystem, and Support & Operation Services. In total, we rank ZTE hardware, software, and services offerings in 20 categories. Continue reading “ZTE’s Forced ‘Hibernation’ Prompts Changes in GlobalData Coverage”

U.S. Telecoms Vendors Could Ultimately Be the Biggest Victims of Government Sanctions

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce delivered a stunning blow to Chinese telecoms vendor ZTE, activating a seven-year ban on U.S. firms from exporting any products to the Chinese company.
  • The decision – and possible Chinese countermeasures – could have major repercussions for a number of U.S. companies, highlighting the complex and highly interdependent nature of today’s telecommunications networks.

U.S. trade relations with China continue to sour, with the decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to issue severe sanctions against ZTE representing the latest salvo. But in the complex, interdependent global supply, the ‘penalty’ sanctions imposed by the U.S. against ZTE could ultimately exact the greatest damage on U.S. vendors. Continue reading “U.S. Telecoms Vendors Could Ultimately Be the Biggest Victims of Government Sanctions”

China Unicom and Cisco Collaborate to Deliver Cloud + Network Capabilities

Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

Segment Routing Deployed in a Backbone Network: Cisco and China Unicom collaboration, a two year endeavor, enables the operator’s nationwide MPLS VPN network to support on-demand services. Cisco notes that this represents China’s first Segment Routing (SR) deployment and leverages its SDN technologies to provide an end-to-end solution. SR also helps mitigate the use of more complicated IP protocols (like RSVP-TE), which is a big advantage and leverages the power of SDN’s centralized management model. .

Advanced Vendor Services Accelerated Delivery: Cisco’s Advanced Services teams provided full life cycle support and coordination with China Unicom and third-party suppliers, and tackled SDN, NFV, cloud computing, ultra-broadband networking, and related technology issues for the operator. The use of vendor supplied services has always been part of the “vendor – operator” model, but virtualized technologies pose additional time-to-market issues such as mastering new technologies and dealing with the complexity of integrating multiple components.

The announcement by Cisco and China Unicom represents a tangible example of how current infrastructure networks can be transformed to deliver flexible cloud-based services by exploiting new routing and networking techniques, such as segment routing which aligns well with centralized management and control (i.e., SDN) paradigms. What makes the solution significant is the combination of multiple technologies, SR, SDN controllers, service orchestration, and the ability to quickly compute optimal traffic paths through an IP network using a path computation engine (PCE). Individual components on their own cannot deliver the resultant end-to-end solution, which supports China Unicom’s ability to offer a range of named cloud-based services (Cloud Network Connection, Cloud Networking, Cloud Broadband, Unicom Cloud Shield, Intelligent Boutique Video Network, and Boutique Financial Network) which it noted in a joint press release with Cisco. Continue reading “China Unicom and Cisco Collaborate to Deliver Cloud + Network Capabilities”

New Telco Software AI Portfolio Enhancements Answer Operator Imperative to Master Customer Experience

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Telco vendor suppliers are boosting their AI credentials with Nokia recently unveiling the latest version of its Cognitive Analytics for Consumer Insight software, bolstering the Consumer Experience Index (CEI) with automated machine learning (ML) capabilities, the latest ecosystem solution aimed at driving operators to deliver real-time, personalized experiences and better compete against the major digital brands.

• Telco software suppliers, such as Nokia, should demonstrate multivendor credentials and build out an AI-specific services practice to further differentiate the solution and fulfill the full spectrum of operator digital business demands.

Operators are fighting for their long-term competitive survival. Top-tier digital brands such as Amazon, Google, Alibaba, and Netflix, are winning customer experience and satisfaction battles virtually across the board. In order to fight back operators must fulfill four major digital business objectives: Continue reading “New Telco Software AI Portfolio Enhancements Answer Operator Imperative to Master Customer Experience”

Omnichannel Rising: Operators Must Meet Emerging Customer Omnichannel Demands or Lose to the Digital Brands

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Operators are consistently performing poorly in customer satisfaction surveys, bearing the brunt of customer ire in how they must deal with them.

• Operators must now provide reliable, personal omnichannel experiences in order to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Failure is not an option since operators must deliver the omnichannel goods or face competitive oblivion.

Operators are unpopular with their customers. Customer satisfaction surveys regularly confirm that over-the-top (OTT) players, including major digital brands like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, and Netflix, excel in providing good customer experience, especially in relation to operators. To add insult to injury, operators are seeing their revenues decline, including even from data services – their workhorse source of revenues.
Continue reading “Omnichannel Rising: Operators Must Meet Emerging Customer Omnichannel Demands or Lose to the Digital Brands”

ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • ZTE’s demonstration of 50G PON, specifically single-lambda, symmetric 50G PON at OFC 2018, highlights the vendor’s R&D commitment in the evolving FTTP markets.
  • ZTE still needs commercial proof points for its new TITAN OLT/optical transport solution, especially in light of the trend towards decentralized, virtualized, and software-defined fixed access networks.

The annual Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) conference in the U.S. took place in San Diego earlier this month. Inevitably, the event provides the opportunity for vendors to showcase both their current product portfolios and prototype technologies. To this end, ZTE took full advantage of exposure provided by OFC to demo a 50G PON solution, specifically, a single-wavelength, symmetric 50G PON. The single-lambda approach distinguishes ZTE’s 50G proposition from other ‘ultra-PON’ offerings, i.e., those delivering 50 or 100G PON via multiple wavelengths. Continue reading “ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?”