Its 2015, in case you didn’t notice 😉 IMS is still not pervasive, tier 2 telcos continue to buy NEW soft-switches in preference to IMS as its too expensive / complex, and RCS is nowhere as discussed in this weblog – a big thank you to all the contributors in the comments. VoLTE is making slow, painful progress with little impact on customers’ experiences. Telco standards continue to restrict vendor supply and inflate prices (see IMS and RCS with tier 2 telcos voting with their feet). And the current BS on NFV is an industrial embarrassment, as discussed in this TelecomTV weblog.
Let’s get real on NFV, $1B of IMS software is $1B regardless of how you implement it. It only gets cheaper when you replace it with open source software that has been specifically designed for the cloud. Virtually all the use cases showing “NFV works” (e.g. SBCs, app servers) are simple virtualization implementations that we’ve been doing for over a decade.
RCS is dead, it needs a reset, the comments in this weblog by experts who worked on RCS succinctly explain why it failed.
Though, I am impressed by the take-up of connect car in AT&T’s latest results, at 800k connections. Its a barmy proposition in my opinion, 30GB for $500 is crazy. But just like people buy in-car navigation systems for $2.5k to $5k when Google Maps is free and on their phone, rationality often does not apply. Telcos are able to sell data connections everywhere. And recently 20 operators in 15 countries launched 300Mbps Category 6 LTE-Advanced services, the pipes are getting dramatically fatter. If its selling connectivity or deploying radio access networks, we can not fault the industry – its got that nailed.
But beyond that some parts of the large vendors, the standards bodies, and the GSMA are simply killing the industry on services. It doesn’t need to be this way, TADS shows we can lead in services, just review this summary from TADSummit with impressive keynotes from Khairil of Axiata Group, Amos from Axiata Group announcing the open sourcing of their API management infrastructure, Dialog sharing amazing service revenue growth with IdeaMart, and many many more. The hacks from TADHack show impressive service thought-leadership that put the industry to shame – just compare Tim Panton’s Fragment hack with AT&T’s WebRTC demo at CES, and his review. The world-first demo of IMS in minutes at TADHack remains the most popular video, and the follow-up world-first demo at TADSummit where the platform was then connected to a live network and a contest ran over the freshly provisioned network. The plans for TADHack in 2015 build on the many developer successes, as discussed in this weblog.
The GSMA should be addressing the services gap as a matter of urgency, they will not, they are pre-occupied with MWC and the thoughtless hype on wearables (peripherals) and claims of being the edge of innovation (sigh!) which continue to distract the from the real problems.
Most CTOs I talk with understand the situation we’re in, the challenge is CTOs have traditionally been within telcos “ministers without portfolio” as the operations guys resist any change and as they own the core revenue they always got their way. Given today’s yawning gap in service innovation compared to the web its clear this model is failing the future of the industry. CTOs need to band together and kick the industry into action on IMS, RCS, the mess of NFV, etc. Their job is to protect the industry’s future. The old ways of how the industry operates on services has failed and failed again – its time for an industry reset on services. Else telcos should focus on the few things they remain good at, broadband and connectivity, just like the fixed ISPs did over one decade ago.