This report assesses the status of network transformation among the communications service providers (CSPs) against the backdrop of current market conditions. Network transformation has entered its second decade as the CSPs roll out 5G, open RAN and network automation. The tools the CSPs are now using are very different from how they built networks just 10 years ago. This taxing undertaking has been taking place in a limited growth fiercely competitive marketplace. Open RAN is network transformation’s flagship project. Open RAN encompasses all the elements of network transformation: disaggregation, virtualization, and open networking (software and hardware). LightCounting just published a report highlighting how Open RAN has forever changed the way the radio access network is designed. Automation is another pillar of network transformation that is still at an early stage. Several operators have ambitious plans to achieve advanced network automation as early as 2025. This promises networks operations that will be vastly different by the decade’s end. On the surface, it is business as usual: CSPs are experiencing paltry growth and continue searching for revenue opportunities. Yet under the surface, much is being done. LightCounting sees this as a pivotal period for the CSPs that will determine whether network transformation, and the increasingly advanced connectivity it enables, will prove to be the engine of much needed growth. It is still in its early days but open RAN, automation, and revenue growth in China from industrial services are all pointers for optimism.
Roy is the publisher of the online magazine, Gazettabyte, and has been researching and writing about the telecom and semiconductor industries for 30 years. Between 2001 and 2009 he was an analyst covering optical transceivers, optical components and communication semiconductors. Roy was also a contributing editor for FibreSystems Europe between 2005 and 2009, and wrote monthly technology trend articles for six years for the London-based magazine, Total Telecom. He has also contributed articles for the UK New Electronics magazine, Financial World, and IEEE Spectrum. Roy is also the co-author of the book, Silicon Photonics: Fueling the Next Information Revolution, published by Elsevier in 2016.
He received a M.Sc. by Dissertation in computing architectures for digital signal processing and a Ph.D. in digital communications from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).