As a part of the Shift Plan, Alcatel-Lucent has inked an agreement to outsource some 2G/3G R&D along with related technical support, design, development and testing operations.
As mature technologies, the move should not concern most of the vendor’s customers. However, as 3G continues to evolve – particularly around Alcatel-Lucent’s focus on small cells – operators must make sure the outsourcing scheme still results in solid products.
Predictions that EPC would be one of the first and most important NFV applications ring true; this month alone, we have seen not only technology/product announcements, but also POCs and even initial deployments.
Vendor opportunity appears to be wide open for both small and larger, well-established suppliers; given the software content, non-hardware vendors now have a chance to penetrate this early adopter market.
Now that the reality of virtualized network functions such as the mobile core and CPE is beginning to transition from the discussion and concept stage into proof of concept (PoC) and initial deployment in support of new operator service models, how will the vendor community be impacted from a profit and competitive perspective? June is shaping up to be a watershed month for virtual EPC (vEPC) announcements which point out that the mobile core is indeed one of the initial network functions to become fully virtualized and staged for deployment. A key observation is that not all of the announcements have come from traditional network suppliers, leaving no doubt that the market will become more crowded as startups and IT players join the traditional mobile core players. What seems clear is that the new vEPC model can help operators; what is somewhat less clear is how the new and existing suppliers will turn this market transition into profitable product sales – which are for the most part software-based. Continue reading “Virtual EPCs Arrive Much Sooner Than Many Have Expected – But Where Is the Revenue?”→
If I can believe my desk calendar, it’s almost summer. With the longest day of the year fast approaching, my mind has turned to all of the usual topics: fireworks, hot dogs, bitter jealousy aimed at European colleagues who take four-week vacations, LTE TDD.
Okay, summertime and LTE TDD might not go hand-in-hand, but there are some real reasons the TDD implementation of everyone’s favorite 4G technology has been on my mind. Earlier this month, I spent some time with my consumer analysts out in Kansas City visiting Sprint; with LTE TDD at the foundation of Sprint Spark, you know the technology was a major component of the discussions with them. This week, I’m sending some of my team to Shanghai in order to catch up with our friends at ZTE. Along with Huawei (which we visited in April), ZTE is expected to benefit significantly from LTE TDD deployments in China over the next year or so; the two vendors won the lion’s share of China Mobile’s LTE TDD awards. This was long-expected and the scale won in supplying these networks is expected to benefit them, particularly if the other Chinese mobile operators follow suit.
Telco copper, much maligned by cable operators and FTTH proponents, may still have a lifespan of another 100 years – to paraphrase the CEO of Australian incumbent operator Telstra – thanks to ongoing technology R&D that will eventually enable multi-gigabit connections over the copper plant.
Fiber-to-the-drop-point (FTTdp) will be a de facto FTTH technology, enabling operators to deliver fiber-speed, ultra-broadband connections by leveraging deep fiber architectures with last-run copper plant, supporting speeds of up to 1 Gbps with G.Fast and 5 Gbps in the not-so-distant future.
American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” and when it comes to the impending demise of telco copper, Twain’s quote has already been overused (I will be the first to plead guilty). For much of the last decade, the wonders of fiber access, or FTTH, have been touted as the end-all, be-all wireline access technology, with fiber evangelists aggressively lobbying across the planet for the upgrade of telco networks to full-fiber as soon as possible. This includes well-established and respected industry groups such as the various FTTH Councils in Europe, Asia and the Americas, which are the “tip of the spear” for fiber network lobbying, as well as high-profile politicians, most notably Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Continue reading “Copper Is Dead, Right? Not So G.Fast and Furious, My Friend”→