Software Defined Networks (SDN) for telecom networks are the next big thing and MWC was not short of announcements and new marketing campaigns from big vendors. It comes at the right time too, when LTE and data awareness now require greater network flexibility, scalability and cost performance. The difference with earlier technologies is that IT vendors are now entering the telecoms market since SDN (or virtualization) is a concept widely used in the IT market.
Enterprise clients typically represent the subscriber group with the highest value for mobile operators. Mobile operators typically have whole departments dealing with large enterprise customers, but so far they have paid limited attention to the most important need of the mobile workforce: excellent mobile coverage in the office. This has been a reason for enterprise clients churning, especially when fierce competition allows competitors to offer better levels of service.
But this is now changing and enterprise specific technologies are evolving as the need to retain these high value customers becomes stronger.
Before the dust settled on its previous acquisition (Acme Packet for $2.1b), Oracle announced it is acquiring North American vendor Tekelec. Oracle started in database systems and is a leading player in this field – even in mobile, it is now growing its infrastructure reach and will surely expand its business in mobile networks.
It feels like 2006 once again: vendors are creating fanciful and colourful presentations about SDN and operators are discussing about the need to move from silos to horizontal platforms and networks. In a way, almost the same story was told six years ago for IMS, but deployments were far smaller than expected. So is SDN following the footsteps of IMS?
Last week’s LTE World Summit included a pre-focus day on signaling for the first time. It was also one of the few times a pre-focus day meant a full room with several standing delegates, many more than the conference team had predicted.
So what made this day particularly interesting? The focus of the signaling day was split in two broad categories: RAN generated signaling and Diameter.
The Femto Forum has rebranded as the Small Cell Forum, signaling its coming of age and evolving from its established home environment to enterprise, public, metro and even rural locations. But are small cells going to be bigger than femtocells?
Ericsson is rumored to be in talks to acquire the Canadian wifi vendor BelAir, potentially giving the Swedish vendor an edge on wifi and small cells. If true, it’s a bold move by Ericsson who does not have significant expertise in wifi access but has been developing gateways that interface between cellular and wifi networks.
As operators in highly competitive, developed markets continue to invest in mobile broadband networks during 2012, we expect them to focus on two key areas for the following year: technologies critical to maintaining a high user experience and initiatives providing additional profit growth opportunities while reducing costs. Key areas for network investments include backhaul, network sharing and traffic optimization.
Mobile operators and vendors from Asia gathered in Singapore to discuss about LTE during Informa’s latest LTE Asia event. Although interest in LTE soared high throughout the conference, there were several interesting topics that stood out during discussions and conference presentations.
Informa Telecoms & Media today issued its latest femtocell market status report which revealed that there are now in excess of 2.3 million 3G femtocells globally compared to 1.6 million 3G macrocells, highlighting the growing popularity of the technology.
Messages from the LTE World Summit ripple throughout the mobile market globally, as it is the biggest event for the new technology where operators, vendors, regulators and other stakeholders share and discuss about the new technology and its progress in the market. As such, it is an ideal gauge of commercial aspects of the technology and Informa’s analysts have identified several key trends, some of which were expected, some of which were not.
Vendors and operators met in London to discuss business models and the future of Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs) and how these can help the latter increase revenues without growing organically. The topic of SDP has been evolving in parallel with IMS and in some cases their evolution is similar. While both have been referenced as a way to implement new services and generate new revenue streams, neither have reached critical mass and in most cases are regarded as a “utility” rather than a premium enabling technology.
The continued decline of voice revenues is pushing mobile operators to turn to data services for new revenue opportunities, but traffic growth has outpaced revenues and networks are currently in a need of new revenue streams to support infrastructure upgrades.
Open network APIs are arguably the most publicized alternative business model to the traditional voice, SMS and data operator offering. Network APIs are enablers for a variety of business models, including operator branded application stores, two sided business models, web mashups and developer communities.