Sky Diving—A Deeper Look into the Telco Cloud Ecosystem
5G is the game-changing innovation disrupting virtually every industry. With the proliferation of new deployments and use cases, there’s no shortage of topics when it comes to 5G. Recently, at the BIG 5G Event, over 3,000 5G experts gathered to discuss a wide array of exciting topics, from network modernization and enterprise applications to private networks and AI.
An Ecosystem in Flux
Similar to, well, just about everything, the cloud vendor ecosystem has changed drastically and swiftly in the last year. We are now seeing widespread adoption of the cloud, especially for smaller carriers. Previously, concerns surrounding the cloud were pervasive, including security, reliability and costs. Those worries have proven to be unfounded or have been corrected. Also, previous barriers tied to latency are no longer an issue thanks to the blazing speeds of 5G. As carriers have increasingly moved to the cloud, the vendor ecosystem has grown exponentially.
Open Source and Open RAN—Agents of Change
An open software environment in a large community inherently invites mass contribution, which naturally drives innovation. With open RAN, more vendors are free to enter the ecosystem, making vendor lock-in a relic of the past. More vendors in the system provide significant flexibility and choice, and ultimately better options. Moving forward, however, having an industry-wide open RAN standard would help operators and further expand the ecosystem in the process.
Leading the Transformation
There is a common perception that getting telcos to embrace software and cloud is an arduous task. But in reality, it’s just part of their natural progression. During the move from 3G to 4G, virtualization and migration from hardware to software became commonplace. The organic next step in the sequence includes a migration to the cloud.
Moving to the cloud provides much more business value than a traditional lift and shift. When telcos begin utilizing the power of the cloud, they can move closer to the customer. Generally speaking, moving toward software and the cloud provides superior agility, reliability, and a quick reroute when things don’t quite go according to plan.
Forging New Partnerships
In the telco cloud ecosystem, creating new partnerships with 5G and cloud-native service providers isn’t nice to have—it’s a must-have. Customers expect to have solutions delivered quickly, and there is an abundance of competition to choose from. Building new alliances with experienced partners allows companies to deliver for their customers while accelerating their time to market. Trust and collaboration are essential to any functional ecosystem. Having an experienced partner that aligns with your company’s values will help deliver solutions quicker while retaining customers and creating an exceptional experience.
Learning From the Ecosystem
There is a tendency to view cloud service providers as mere sellers. In some instances, providers are even viewed as foes instead of allies. This is a big mistake—cloud service providers possess a wealth of valuable knowledge. Telcos might make up a small percentage of their customer base, but they work with hundreds, if not thousands, of companies from different industries with a myriad of commonalities. Leveraging the expertise of cloud service providers is crucial for successful deployments.
With new vendors, partnerships and competitors, the telco cloud ecosystem is in a state of perpetual change. For the ecosystem to continue its trajectory and thrive, telcos will need to embrace the cloud, forge strong partnerships and adopt a learning mentality. A healthy and functioning ecosystem will prove to be beneficial for telcos, vendors, providers and customers.
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