The New Software Telco

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The New Software Telco

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 08, 2014

If telcos were animals they’d be tortoises. And if the new breed of service providers – the over-the-top types – were, they’d be hares.

The moral of the tortoise and the hare tale is that slow and steady wins the race.

Steady seems OK, but slow doesn’t work so great when you’re competing in a fast-moving world in which new market entrants are eating your lunch, time-to-market is key, and consumers are more informed and demanding than ever.

So the telcos are starting to look at how to change the way they run things.

That includes both rethinking their approach to the market, and altering their networks to support this new direction. That involves adapting to current market realities by adopting software-centric platforms and virtualization in an effort to become more efficient, faster, and more flexible. That, the thinking goes, will enable the telcos to introduce and alter new services and applications more quickly, and to hold down their network overhead in the process.

To help telcos and their partners get a better handle on what’s possible on this front, INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine’s parent company, TMC (News - Alert), hosts an event called Software Telco Congress, during which telcos of all sizes, resellers, and developers come together to learn and network about these issues.

The next Software Telco Congress is being held Aug. 12 through 14 at The Rio in Las Vegas. We hope to see you there.

For more information on the event, visit this link:

The time for telecom transformation is now. One fact illustrating the urgency of this matter is that OTT players have captured 30 percent of voice traffic in seven years, and now service provider voice growth is around 3 percent per year.

The good news is that rather than continue to pull their heads inside their shells, many telcos recently have set out on the path to transform themselves to better compete. That includes both individual telco efforts and industry-wide initiatives such as the ETSI (News - Alert) Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group, and the OpenDaylight Project.

As Rich Tehrani, TMC CEO and Software Telco Congress conference chairman, says: “The most powerful trend in computing in the last decade has been a movement to the cloud which has been amplified by the ability to virtualize servers, software and networks making computing more efficient and flexible. The simple concept of cloud bursting has allowed IT directors to scale software easily, handling computing peaks without having to purchase the maximal amount of computing resources up-front.

“You can't burst a legacy Class 4 or 5 switch,” continues Tehrani. “You can't burst telco equipment which is based on proprietary hardware. The communications service providers of the world have been looking at their IT departments and wondering why they can't achieve the same cost-effective scale and efficiency in their network operations.”

Meanwhile, he notes, the threat from OTT – which do take advantange of the efficiencies described above – has never been greater.

“You simply cannot compete with the new breed of telco competitors if you don't move as much of your legacy hardware to software as possible,” concludes Tehrani. “It won't happen all at once, but then again the move to VoIP didn't happen overnight, but the carriers who timed it right leapt ahead of the laggards.” 

Edited by Maurice Nagle