ZTE NMVP: Enabling Providers to Optimize Their NB-IoT Networks

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• ZTE’s NB-IoT Massive-connection and multi-service Virtual-verification Platform (NMVP) evaluates network performance and provides optimization suggestions to the network.

• While ZTE claimed the platform to be the first in the industry, competitors can build a similar solution and match the capabilities in no time.

Growing NB-IoT Adoption
Since NB-IoT was finalized in 2016, carriers have been enabling the technology in their networks for IoT deployments. To date, there are around 100 commercial NB-IoT networks available across the world. However, with only over 100 supported devices and about 20 chipsets available, the adoption is still relatively low compared to other wireless technologies. GlobalData shows that only 1.5% of the total IoT deployments today are based on NB-IoT while cellular technologies (e.g., 2G, 3G, and 4G) and wireline are still largely used (~75% of the total connections). Most NB-IoT networks today are still underutilized. However ZTE’s home market of China is the global NB-IoT leader, and is a natural fit to debut this type of platform. As the ecosystem grows, more devices will be available in the market and connected in the network, driving the overall traffic in NB-IoT network. Carriers will eventually face network congestions in the network which may cause disruptions to IoT applications. Continue reading “ZTE NMVP: Enabling Providers to Optimize Their NB-IoT Networks”

Telecom Assets for Sale, Telecom Assets for Sale

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• Telecom operators need cash. FTTP, 5G and multi-play is expensive. Voice/data is not able to pay the bills. Operators are offloading assets that are no longer seen as core to their business.

• REITs and private equity firms are buying infrastructure for sale, like data centers and now complete companies managing them as another utility for better returns.

Increasingly, telecommunications operators are facing pricing pressure resulting in limited revenue growth from fixed and mobile services. Meanwhile, they need to invest in faster access such as fiber and 5G (equipment and spectrum), which will require more capital. Some telecom operators are also looking at growth outside of the traditional voice and data services and they are building capabilities to offer IoT, enterprise services and entertainment services for consumers. These new areas require different types of investments including platforms, applications, and content. While shareholders want to see new revenue streams and growth, they also expect stable returns (e.g., dividends and share buyback) from these businesses and a healthy balance sheet. This makes it more challenging for telecom companies to raise capital to fund their growth ambitions without carrying too much debt. Continue reading “Telecom Assets for Sale, Telecom Assets for Sale”

Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Cost sharing between vendors/SPs and customers can strengthen relationships in a difficult time.

• Calm and deliberate planning by vendors/SPs and customers is key to minimizing impacts to business.

The new tariffs on imported goods in China and the U.S. will have a significant impact on pending and future deals, both for service providers, vendors, and customers. The technology industry has a complex and deeply international supply chain, with U.S. and Chinese companies both utilizing components and intellectual property. Component price increases will lead to sharp increases in product costs. These increases will slow or stall deals as customers may wait and see if the issues can be resolved in a short time frame.
Continue reading “Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector”

Huawei Analyst Day 2019: Addressing the 5G Challenge for Middle East CSPs

D. Kehoe

Summary Bullets:

  • Middle East telcos are taking a proactive approach in their 5G deployments, and Huawei is an active player in the region.
  • While standards are shaping up and roadmaps evolving, partner selection is happening now.

5G is an emerging technology that transforms underlying architecture in core networks and promotes virtualization, AI and automation. It changes the possibilities of networks, applications and underlying IT systems. It introduces several new technologies that are different from any previous technology, some of which include:

  • Ultra-low latency – opens up new possibilities to converge the performance of network and apps, as well as entirely new use cases for cloud-based AR/VR. The health sector, for example, highlights possibilities in areas such as remote surgery.
  • Network slicing – allows users to set their own QoS/CoS parameters around virtual networks; advances SD-WAN; addresses security differently and opens new possibilities in IT/OT security.
  • Massive bandwidth – an ability to support 10 Gbps potentially, offering a lot of capacity to the last mile and resolving many bottlenecks we have today.

Continue reading “Huawei Analyst Day 2019: Addressing the 5G Challenge for Middle East CSPs”

NBN Co Stepping Up the Development of Services for Business Customers

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

  • NBN Co is developing capabilities to support business users, including providing higher QoS and enhanced customer support.
  • With better connectivity, service providers have opportunities to offer more products and services (e.g., cloud, collaboration and networking) to businesses of all sizes.

NBN Co has been looking to the business segment to grow its revenue and has publicly discussed the aim to make $1 billion in revenue from this segment. While many small businesses are already using residential-grade NBN services, there is a demand for connections with higher service levels, lower contention ratios and better performance. In December 2018, NBN Co indicated that its network had reached half a million businesses. NBN Co is doubling down on developing products for business customers, and this will accelerate as it reaches more businesses across the country. Continue reading “NBN Co Stepping Up the Development of Services for Business Customers”

WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi 6 is entering the market and will offer higher capacity, better security, and more efficient resource/device management.
  • As a successor to the current WiFi standard, it will be widely adopted in the mass market. There are also several benefits to enterprises.

What’s New

WiFi 6, which is based on the IEEE802.11ax standard, is a logical progression of the current WiFi technology (IEEE802.11ac). It comes with various new features and updated technologies to offer higher network capacity and security as well as better device management. WiFi 6 has a theoretical peak speed of 9.6 Gbps, almost triple that of its predecessor (WiFi 5). This is achieved through updated wireless technologies such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) antenna systems. However, the gain in capacity is not just about offering a higher speed, but also about addressing the larger number of WiFi devices served by an access point (AP). Continue reading “WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises”

TPG Needs the Merger with VHA, and to Grow Business Customers

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• TPG is facing headwinds in growing its revenue and there is limited room to expand its margins. It needs to find new ways to grow its business.

• The merger with VHA will give TPG mobile capabilities and greater scale to compete with Telstra and Optus; but it also needs to pursue growth from the business segment.

TPG released its H1 FY2019 results in late March 2019. Total revenue for H1 FY2019 (ended 31 December 2019) declined 1.5% YoY to A$1.24 billion, but underlying EBITDA and NPAT improved 2.8% and 3.5% respectively. Revenue and EBITDA growth was mainly due to improvement in its Corporate division, but the growth was offset by the decline of Consumer division due to the DSL to NBN migration and iiNet home phone decline. Within Corporate, growth was mainly driven by the Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) fibre contract (contributed A$22 million of growth), which will not deliver long-term growth. While TPG has not been able to grow its revenue in H1 FY2019 compared to the same period in the previous financial year, it has been successful in reducing costs to improve its margins including a reduction in employment and overhead costs. With the consumer market challenged by competition and NBN migration, there is limited upside. There is also limited room for further cost reduction, so business-as-usual is not an option for TPG. Continue reading “TPG Needs the Merger with VHA, and to Grow Business Customers”

NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • NEC completed its SDWAN trial with UniKL and was selected as the technology partner for the university’s SDx Center of Excellence.
  • While the collaboration offers an early-mover advantage, NEC needs to expand its ecosystem of partners to grab the bigger market opportunity in the country.

NEC Corporation announced the completion of its SD-WAN trial with the University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in Malaysia on March 22, 2019. The initiative, which was funded by the Japanese government, used NEC’s own solution, ‘SD-WAN Security Common Platform,’ and covered several use cases such as virtualization and monitoring of end-to-end network traffic in multivendor environments, dynamic routing optimization based on application requirements, and central configuration of network switches across the university campuses. Following the successful collaboration, NEC has also been selected as the technology partner for UniKL’s newly launched SDx Center of Excellence, which brings together industry experts and researchers to co-develop solutions based on the latest networking technologies such as SDN, IoT, and 5G. Continue reading “NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market”

SD-WAN is Maturing – Should Enterprises Change Their Expectations?

Summary Bullets:

• Customers should approach SD-WAN with an open mind when it comes to costs and understand that savings may come from knock-on benefits.

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

• Customers should conduct their own trials into whether the internet is appropriate for a given application.

Cost Savings vs. Quality

Much of the initial hype about SD-WAN focused on cost saving. However, those looking to buy an SD-WAN solution should keep an open mind to cost and be aware that if savings are realized they may not come from the cost of their WAN solution. Indeed, initial experience suggests that SD-WAN solutions sometimes increase the cost of an enterprise’s overall spend on WAN. The complexity of managing SD-WAN means that it is not an inherently cheap technology. WAN savings may come over time as more and more MPLS is phased out of WAN architectures, but initial experience suggests that abandoning MPLS from day one is a risky approach and often results in unsatisfactory network performance. Continue reading “SD-WAN is Maturing – Should Enterprises Change Their Expectations?”

Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Singtel is strengthening its IoT portfolio through a partnership with Microsoft by integrating a range of Azure capabilities into its network.
  • Its service coverage is still limited in Singapore, China and Australia (Optus) compared to the global IoT networks offered by competitors.

Singtel announced its partnership with Microsoft in February 2019 to launch an AI-powered IoT network over Microsoft Azure. This is achieved through integration of Singtel’s IoT network into Microsoft Azure cloud capabilities, including IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and other machine learning and cognitive services. Singtel has a comprehensive IoT portfolio with software-defined network capabilities, a range of technologies including LPWAN standards, a private IoT network for added security (‘IoTConnect+’), competitive pricing (as low as SGD1 per month for 10 MB on NB-IoT) and various solutions across industry verticals. The additional capability gained from the partnership with Microsoft complements the carrier’s IoT portfolio. The AI capabilities enable the carrier to deliver more efficient services, especially in the orchestration and automation of applications and workloads across IoT stacks (e.g., devices, network and clouds), thus accelerating enterprises’ business outcomes and the ROI. The cloud services offer scalable deployments, addressing the high upfront investments required by enterprises to implement IoT use cases. It also enables Singtel to retain its IoT leadership in Singapore and address the increasing demand in the key Asian hub. GlobalData research shows that 62% of 1,664 global enterprises interviewed (including 65% of 57 in Singapore) are making major or large investments in IoT in the next three years. The access to Microsoft’s vast range of development tools, developers and other packaged solutions enables the carrier to further strengthen its own IoT platform capabilities, while IoT Hub offers an additional platform option to its customers in addressing diverse market demands. Continue reading “Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio”