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Software telcos coming up !

Updated: May 28, 2020


A month ago I commented on the progress on 5G and on who might eventually make money from it. I discussed the classical “telco way of work” through new G’s every ten years and lack of readiness from operators to make a move into the B2B promise of 5G. I also pointed at an ecosystem battle where almost everyone is involved – and every incumbent player is threatened (except governments - unless they over-regulate and kill innovation in the cradle). MNOs are clearly threatened, be it from OTT players, IT companies, platform providers, system integrators – or their own traditional telco suppliers or B2B customers (i.e. from private enterprises) – or from MVNOs.

Also, classical telco suppliers like Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia are threatened - through softwarization and cloudification - and new players are coming along. I referred to this already in the previous article – pointing at e.g. Rakuten and Working Group Two. However, it was recently commented that “Rakuten Mobile launches an assault on the global telecom market”, i.e. they plan on selling their “software telco” to service providers in other countries – and thus posing threats not only to global telco suppliers but also to other operators.

“Software telcos” could open up for new low-cost software-based players across the world, be it new MNOs or MVNOs – and could definitively disrupt also telco suppliers. In addition, it would most likely open up a much more flexible and dynamic ecosystem for innovation and new services through APIs.

There are obviously people skeptical to this approach (possibly for their own business reasons). However, it will be interesting to see how this plays out!

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