Industry heavyweights lend cloud-wary telcos a helping hand

Operators grappling with their cloud migration strategies can now call for assistance from Ericsson and Dell.

Nick Wood

May 24, 2024

3 Min Read

The two heavy hitters from the worlds of telco and IT have expanded their partnership in an effort to help CSPs devise and implement their network cloud transformation strategies.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Dell, nine out of 10 operators identify network transformation as being critical to their survival. Unfortunately though, 96% of respondents said their vision for network transformation is lagging due to various hurdles including limited time and budget, and concerns regarding reliability and security.

Dell and Ericsson have a vested interest in lowering these barriers to adoption.

The two have been collaborating since last year on cloud RAN solutions that bring together Ericsson's cloud RAN software and RAN equipment, and Dell's server hardware in a bid to expand the ecosystem and offer customers greater flexibility.

The fact that they are deepening their partnership to offer a range of consulting and integration services suggests that operators might require a bit more hand-holding to get them over the line.

Indeed, while greenfield operators like Dish in the US, 1&1 in Germany, and Rakuten in Japan are in the privileged position of being able to deploy cloud-native networks from the ground up, the same cannot be said for the majority of CSPs, which face the daunting task of having to migrate existing networks with minimal disruption, and then decommission legacy infrastructure.

This complexity equates to time and cost, both of which are powerful disincentives to radical change.

"Communications service providers have a crucial window of opportunity to lay the foundation for network cloud transformation and drive business growth," said Dennis Hoffman, SVP and general manager of Dell's telecom systems business. "Our collaboration with Ericsson, combined with our decades of digital transformation expertise, will provide network operators the full plan and technologies they need to accelerate their network and operation transformations to positively impact the trajectory of their businesses."

Under the partnership, Ericsson and Dell plan to develop tailored network cloud transformation plans and advise CSPs on network architectures and operating models, while also reducing the risks associated with deploying on open, multi-vendor environments. They will also look at co-creating solutions that improve energy efficiency and innovate on cloud RAN infrastructure operations.

The partnership also heralds the commercial launch of Ericsson Cloud RAN software on Dell PowerEdge servers. To make life easier for customers, the solution comes with continuous integration testing and lifecycle management, with Dell taking the lead as a solution partner.

Finally, Dell and Ericsson will also co-develop services that simplify the deployment process from factory validation to installation, and ongoing operational management. These will be backed by Dell and Ericsson's joint support for any integrated solution.

"Working closer with Dell Technologies will help further develop cloud-native programmable networks that bring new ideas and practices to the telecom market," said Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson. "Building upon years of collaboration, this strategic partnership will strengthen our cloudification efforts as we gear up to launch Open RAN-based commercial solutions."

Dell and Ericsson were among those chosen late last year by AT&T for its $14 billion Open RAN deployment. The US telco seems encouraged by the expanded partnership between two of its suppliers.

"To accelerate cloud-based open networks, the telecom industry needs vendors to come together to develop solutions that deliver more growth opportunities with minimal risk," said Chris Sambar, head of network at AT&T. "We look forward to the continued innovation and collaboration as we continue our Open RAN journey."

Indeed, and with Ericsson seeing a 19% decline in network revenue in Q1 – and with Dell'Oro painting a gloomy picture of the telecoms equipment market – vendors like Ericsson need to pull out all the stops to get their clients to do some spending again.

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.

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