Most of the vendors have the first version of the 5G product portfolio ready for initial trials. As we progress to 2019, Telecom market will see fanatic activity w.r.t lab trials and RFI/RFP for these product lines. With microservice architecture and cloud-native software becoming table stakes, Telecom is slowly transforming into Internet Technology market. While vendors are busy making or faking it, it is worthwhile to take a hard look at the Go-to-Market strategy for the 5G portfolio.
Americas are leading the pack with RFI/RFP for 5G portfolio. Argumentation, CAPEX Budgeting and initial use case set are close to conclusion. While there seems to be a lot of clarity in terms of what is needed from overall network component perspective, the most operator is still struggling with details in terms of final realization, cloud platform, and technology selection. Also, Network Slicing, the meat of 5G Service-Oriented architecture still has little necessity in the operator's network. VR is still nowhere on the horizon and data-hungry applications are happy running with fixed access. With little signs of ARPU going north with 5G as today, Operators are mostly using this opportunity to optimize network operations and reduce OPEX. However, the will for optimization seems halfhearted and Operators continue to request RFI/RFP, network dimensioning and pricing with almost no change from LTE world.
The story hasn't changed drastically from vendors perspective. Telecom vendors have never-ever in the past have accepted Open source technologies like today. Most vendors now have different cloud environments running with open source auxiliary services and sample applications demonstrating basic calls. The details for the 5G core that got dished out as part of Release 15 seem to have even surprised 3GPP. While tech has seen a sea change, the sales and marketing seem to continue to kayak in familiar waters. Sales engineers, happy to learn new tools, continue to approach Operators with educational contents and doing early demos. With Operators not sure what to expect, everyone seems to be happy with the status quo. The "Tell and Sell" continues.
As Catenna, we recommend a fresh new perspective and suggest a more internet tech like Go-To-Market strategy. Digitization of the telecom market will create a Winner-Takes-All market scenario. We foresee each NF being led by one market leader and this leadership will primarily be established by market acceptance. With changing a network element limited to SW component parts only, this would be an eventual reality.
We recommend telecom vendors to put out NFs (Docker images of products) for direct evaluation, lab integration and building consensus on the cloud-native environment from an Operator perspective. This will ensure early development, framing and evolution of overall network as cloud infrastructure. Annual evaluation, Commercial (product usage) and Service licenses will drive revenue.
Do comment or write to us to understand how Catenna can work with your team to devise innovative and brand new Go-To-Market strategy.