NFV finds its footing despite industry trepidation
This year, headline-grabbing news such as the TalkTalk hack has served to put the security of cloud-based services into question. Naturally, these questions extend to the use of the cloud and NFV within the telecoms industry. However, despite these concerns, 2016 will be a year of progress for these technologies as operators realise they are invaluable when used within their networks, providing agility, flexibility and the means to innovate their core services.
Jumping on the Wi-Fi-calling band(width) wagon
In 2016, mobile use of video streaming services will push networks to the point where all the extra bandwidth delivered by 4G has been consumed. Consumers will increasingly seek alternative connection via Wi-Fi and mobile operators will be keen to support them. Off-load of voice (and video-call) traffic over Wi-Fi will become more important, and will tend towards a more integrated ‘native’ experience rather than via the use of a separate app. Within the network, the service-layer equipment that delivers these services will be extended to become access-agnostic; enabling the same service experience regardless of how the subscriber is connected.
Operators go full throttle
Despite impressive 4G data speeds, the rise in bandwidth consumption next year might see some operators put the brakes on. Shortly after the launch of 3G mobile broadband, a number of operators toyed with offering mobile broadband at different prices for different speeds. Manipulating pricing may help manage demand and offer some upside for revenues, however it will require significant dialogue between operators and regulators in order to agree how this will work.
This links to the industry’s journey towards 5G and the internet of things (IoT) where the characteristics of the connection, such as peak speed, guaranteed speed and latency will be varied, and charged differently according to service type. Therefore, in 2016 operators will also need to consider flexible implementation of the service control, charging and policy triangle to allow experimentation with various charging models in the near future.
IT giants keep their eyes on the ‘prise
IT powerhouse companies such as Microsoft will continue to win enterprise communication deals at the expense of incumbent European operators. This is because enterprise CIOs will increasingly view communications as another IT service and not a provision exclusively from traditional telecoms operators.
For these IT giants it could be big business, and potentially billions of dollars of lost revenue for mobile operators. In response to this threat, many mobile operators will be looking to deliver a more innovative, tailored range of services to their enterprise customers to keep them from churning.