Amazon Web Services (AWS) appears to be ramping up its efforts to convince more telcos that public cloud is the future of telecoms networking.

Nick Wood

January 26, 2023

3 Min Read
AWS joins other hyperscalers at TM Forum

Amazon Web Services (AWS) appears to be ramping up its efforts to convince more telcos that public cloud is the future of telecoms networking.

The US-based hyperscaler revealed this week it has joined the TM Forum, lending its expertise to help the industry organisation accelerate the adoption of cloud-native software for back office systems and infrastructure.

AWS joins its fellow public cloud providers Microsoft, which has been a member since the 1990s, and Google Cloud, which signed up last July.

“TM Forum is one of the leading forums charting the path forward for the telecom industry. Embracing cloud helps simplify and scale network operations, reduce total cost of ownership – without forfeiting autonomy or control – and better positions communication service providers (CSPs) for innovation and growth,” said Adolfo Hernandez, VP, global telecoms business unit, AWS, in a statement on Thursday.

In recent years, the TM Forum has been promoting its Open Digital Architecture concept, which boils down to telcos upgrading from legacy OSS/BSS to standardised, cloud-based software that can serve as a platform for service innovation.

“AWS’s philosophy and expertise around reusable business capabilities has been a guiding principle in the development of Open Digital Architecture,” said TM Forum CEO Nik Willetts. “Their involvement will be key in developing the tools and practices that will accelerate the industry’s innovation.”

The question is, who stands to benefit the most, telcos or AWS?

Despite all the hype about telcos migrating to public cloud, the reality is markedly less exciting.

As Dell’Oro predicted last summer, cumulative global revenues from hosting 5G workloads in the public cloud are expected to reach approximately $4.6 billion between 2022 and 2026.

This is a paltry sum considering the numbers published by Synergy Research Group on Monday. It reckons overall global public cloud revenues totalled $544 billion in 2022 alone, up 21% on the year before. Revenues from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) grew 29 percent, accounting for $195 billion of the total.

As Dell’Oro noted back in August, of the 27 5G standalone (SA) networks in operation, only one was running on public cloud. It also counted another 130 telcos that had signed contracts with vendors to deploy dedicated telco cloud infrastructure for their cloud-native 5G networks, while only two had committed to public cloud.

Clearly then there is still a lot of reticence among telcos about migrating such critical infrastructure to a hyperscaler. Perhaps by joining the TM Forum, AWS can alter the direction of travel.

It has been a regular participant in TM Forum events – and was a principle sponsor of last year’s Digital Transformation World – so it is no stranger to this particular audience. Becoming a member suggests AWS thinks it’s the right time the time is right to exert a little more influence.

“Telcos that stick to a traditional, asset-heavy operating model while moving traditional workloads to the cloud are missing a golden opportunity,” said TM Forum chairman Steffen Roehn. “Moving to cloud-native software stacks and becoming innovative, solutions-oriented businesses will help telcos best monetise investments in their networks. AWS is perfectly placed to guide CSPs through this evolution and it’s fantastic that they’ll be doing so through the Forum.”

Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

You May Also Like