Midterm Observations on the Telecom Industry.

Observations - Telecom IndustryThree events were held this past week that provided an opportunity to get a midterm pulse of the telecom industry: the MWC-Shanghai, 5G World and WBA Congress. Having attended the last two, I wanted to summarize a few observations:

* The vision for 5G is converging; industry is aligning along common themes.  A few leading operators are racing to claim 5G capability for different reasons and interests. The absence of standards coupled with vendors’ urgent need for 5G, will lead to market confusion which will climax in the next two years as the olympics in Japan and Korea approach and companies and countries race to claim firsts. Expect to be inundated with terms such as ‘5G-Lite’, ‘pre-5G’, ‘5G-Phase1’, ‘pre-certified 5G’, ‘5G-ready’, etc. Read more of this post

Demystifying Cloud RAN Architectures

Imagine a wireless service provider can provide service anywhere there’s Internet connectivity at the click of a button. All they need is a small remote radio connected to the Internet. The baseband modems no longer reside at cell sites, but are hosted in data centers where powerful commercial servers execute all the functions of todays base station baseband units. The remote radios can even be self-deployed by the mobile subscribers. The service provider would have full control of the service features which can be configurable on the fly. Sounds like science fiction to some, but this is what virtualization of the radio access network aims to achieve.

No wonder then that the term Cloud RAN which meant centralization and virtualization of baseband became an overused term to denote all types of architectures. We live in the world of Anything as a Service (XaaS). Which investors would put money now in a hardware company? Read more of this post

C-RAN and the True 5G

5G Cloud RANWhile people may debate what 5G will be, there are a few key facts that cannot be changed. These facts will shape what 5G will be. Based on this we expect that new winners will emerge who can capitalize on new trends through innovating new solutions. Therefore, aside from the hype that dominates 5G talk, the key is to peel the layers that shroud the fundamentals. Over the last three years of researching the potential for Cloud RAN (C-RAN), I saw all the traits of a disruptive technology lurking in the background (2014, 2015). But with 5G, I think this can all change, and C-RAN will bolt to the foreground in more than one way. Read more of this post

5G: Revolution or Evolution?

5G VirtualizationIs 5G an evolution or a revolution? In an earlier article I said 5G is an evolutionary stage. Many disagreed: 5G is a revolutionary technology. But this is all a matter of perspective.  The evolution vs. revolution debate has largely focused on the air interface, or the ‘subscriber interface’: everyone wants to have fast wide-bandwidth connectivity. Naturally, it is the user experience that takes center attention. In my opinion, this is not a revolutionary aspect as 5G will package the same technologies with upgrades in implementation that reflects advancements in technology since LTE was first conceived in 2004 (yes, that’s 12 years ago!!). Instead, I think that the revolutionary aspect is related to the ‘backend’ or the ‘operator interface’: it is in virtualizing the network. Read more of this post

Are MVNOs the Next OTTs?

MVNOThe wireless market in Canada is on the cusp of changes due to new regulations that open the market for a new breed of MVNO services. Full MVNOs are now possible: they will be able to have their own mobile network codes (MNCs) and provision their own IMSI numbers. Full MVNOs own their core network including all subscriber related entities (HLR or HSS, etc.) while relying on wholesale service provider for the radio access network only. This makes these MVNOs independent at least from a retail perspective from the underlying host wireless carrier. MVNOs will be able to make arrangements with multiple wireless carriers and negotiate their own roaming arrangements with other national and international carriers. However, the regulator stopped short of mandating MVNO models, leaving it in the hands of incumbent MNOs. So the question remains: will these new rules stimulate the market and allow greater vitality in what is now a dull MVNO landscape?  Read more of this post

Cloud RAN Promises to Shape Future Wireless Networks

Wireless Cloud RANWe have released our annual Cloud RAN report with new insights and analysis on the development of this market during 2014. Cloud RAN is certainly gaining in interest in the operator community. This is due to practical reasons related to cost savings that can be realized first by the process of centralization and then by the virtualization of the radio access network. In our analysis of this market, we took a quantitative approach by analyzing the business case for different deployment scenarios (macro cell, HetNets) in different markets (Asia, North America), to determine a plausible evolution and market potential for Cloud RAN. The findings were extremely interesting as they exposed where Cloud RAN makes sense and under what conditions and use case scenarios. This is critical as Cloud RAN has impact on a number of other mobile network solutions such as small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS). Read more of this post