The next three to four years will witness mobile networks evolve towards 5G in a way that is more transformational than was the shift to IP in mobile – and much of the innovation enabling transformation will be coming from start-ups, not traditional infrastructure vendors.
That’s according to ABI Research, whose new Radio Access Network and Core Network Innovators report identifies and highlights 15 start-ups that exhibit strong innovation to support that transformation.
“Traditionally operators have deployed a handful of infrastructure vendors in their networks, especially in the core network. Stagnating average revenue per user and increasing network traffic are driving operators to be more cost-effective and innovative in network performance and operations management and network upgrades,” says Prayerna Raina, senior analyst at ABI Research. “The end-to-end digital transformation toward virtualized and software defined networks is creating the opportunity for operators to open their highly proprietary networks and vendor ecosystem to include innovative start-ups. The 15 companies we have profiled illustrate a strong business sense and innovative solutions.”
As the industry progresses toward the standardization and the launch of 5G in the 2019-2020 time-frame, operators need to address some key network performance and traffic management issues now. Technology trends that address these challenges today and also lay the groundwork for 5G in future include: the application of virtualization and software-defined networking technologies to mobile networks; the evolution of the mobile edge to improve customer quality of experience (QoE) and the creation of monetization opportunities for the operator; the growing need for an effective self-organizing network (SON) solution; and the use of big data analytics to leverage granular network data to enhance network performance.
Athonet, CellWize, CellMining, AirHop Communications, Core Network Dynamics, Blue Danube, Vasona Networks are a few examples of the startups profiled and those that are poised to challenge the status-quo in the telecom industry, said Raina.
“The telco start-ups we have profiled are challenging the incumbents in every way. From the flexibility of the solution to value-added services and a strong R&D focus, these companies are not just innovative, but also reflect an understanding of telco operators’ operational models as well as revenue and network performance challenges,” Raina said. “With strong financial backing and active engagement with major partners in their ecosystem, these startups have proven their ability to meet operator requirements in tests and field deployments.”