Telecom operators need to be more than a dumb pipe: report

Telecom operators are facing more competition in cloud, AI and SDN, according to GlobalData. (Pixabay)

Telecom operators need to get their AI, SDN and cloud ducks in a row or risk becoming a "dumb pipe" for connectivity, according to a report.

The report by GlobalData said that in 2019, operators need to establish their relevance and come up with a convincing game plan if they wish to compete against interlopers in domains such as artificial intelligence (AI), SDN and the cloud.

“Telecom operators are increasingly seeking to move beyond the dumb pipe of simple connectivity and diversify in the cloud, AI and SDN," said Laura Petrone, senior analyst for GlobalData, in a statement. "This trajectory will bring them into direct competition with technology interlopers that are also actively targeting segments that telecoms operators might once have seen as their own.”

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While telecom operators including CenturyLink, Verizon and AT&T are forging relationships with cloud providers such as Google, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, they're also competing against them in some areas.

Telecom operators also need to be wary of China’s growing influence over technology standards as part of the country’s ambition to dominate next generation technologies. China has ambitions to be the worldwide leader in 5G deployments.

“China’s commitment to technology leadership is not just a matter of record; it is an intrinsic part of the country’s strategic plan," Petrone said. "We expect to see China trying to exert greater influence over the rules for next generation telecom standards such as 5G and the internet of things, in much the same way as Europe dominated 2G and the US 3G and 4G.”

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