How ‘cloudification’ of telecom networks can help CSPs grow


Large carrier service providers (CSPs) have thrived for many years selling connectivity, voice and data, but that model has become too limited to keep them growing and profitable.

Over the next decade, the CSPs that successfully transform will become digital service providers (DSPs), offering consumers and businesses a broad mix of services that generate new revenue streams. These services will include over-the-top (OTT) media services and mission-critical IoT applications, such as the connected car and smart cities.

This transition will require a shift from traditional network-based infrastructure to a software-driven and cloud-based delivery model. In becoming true DSPs, the CSPs will start offering telco-as-a-service in which they deliver a new core network environment that’s an agile and flexible cloud platform enabling them to:

  • Meet unpredictable data traffic with scalable mobile networks
  • Reduce total cost of ownership with automation
  • Innovate faster and more effectively
  • Keep customers loyal with improved network experiences
  • Put processing where it’s needed with a mix of network layouts
  • Grow flexibly and scale out with the cloud

Already, advances in network virtualization and containers technology, native cloud application development, microservices and adoption of the DevOps model have helped telcos build the telco cloud. With these new technologies and architecture styles, CSPs will find it much easier to design and roll out new services to consumers — services they can provision immediately, bill for automatically and manage in a “software-defined” way.

The road to the future

This new telco cloud will become agile, robust and flexible enough to support 5G for mission-critical IoT via the distributed cloud. ABI Research estimates that the CSP will move to the telco cloud by 2020. Those of us in the industry then expect that all of the follow-on applications development will come steadily over the next five years into the year 2025 as IoT continues to explode.

The technology adoption of cloud-native services, container-based services design and application program interface (API) standards and deployment principles will also trigger organizational, skillset and process changes that can support this new strategy.

CSPs need to partner with telco cloud technology providers and also the right service integrator to create the best path to digital transformation. An experienced partner can help enable key value chains by supporting the digital platform with the right technology offerings and services required for a successful design and implementation of the telco cloud.

CSPs will continue to evolve the telco cloud with the collaboration and participation of telco suppliers and open communities such as Linux Foundation projects, including the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), and Open Source MANO (management and network orchestration). These open source communities will develop the technology in an open, extensible way, as opposed to proprietary development by each ISV.

Native public cloud providers are also positioning themselves to play a role in the telco cloud by contributing to the open source communities and partnering with various telco suppliers and CSPs. In doing so, they are shifting some key components of the CSPs’ telco cloud from a hosted private stack to a public cloud stack. Whenever possible, public cloud providers will host core network applications for a telco, mainly because they have the capacity, security, fault tolerance and connectivity.

This cloud-based service delivery model has become seemingly inevitable. CSPs that do not advance will continue to suffer declines in traditional service revenues and not evolve to offer the more profitable microservices that are critical to the industry’s future growth.

Hassan Alzein is Industry Chief Technologist for Technology, Media and the Telecommunication industry, reporting to DXC Technology’s Office of the CTO. He is responsible for driving growth and innovation within the industry for DXC. He has 20 years of experience in the services industry. Prior to his current role, Hassan served as the CT for several industries, including automotive, transportation and retail. Hassan lives in Dearborn, Michigan, and holds an electrical and computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan.

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