The AWS 5G announcement sent a clear signal to telcos – wait, no it didn’t

AWS announcement
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The AWS announcement a few weeks ago seemed clear enough. If you need a private 5G network, a few clicks and you are up and running.

On the face of it, it was a challenge to telcos. And it was easy to see it as another nail in the coffins of telcos trying to figure out how to monetise 5G. Even supplying connectivity, intelligent as it might be, was under threat.

The AWS announcement, however, is like many announcements in the telecoms industry: not as clear cut as it might seem.

It was, according to Niall Norton, General Manager of Openet, the networking software division of Amdocs, somewhere between a declaration of intent and a good piece of marketing. What it was not was a declaration of a collision course with the telcos.

AWS, along with other hyperscalers, is a more natural partner in the 5G world and Openet and others in fact work with AWS to provide solutions (mainly enterprise ones) to telcos.

The fact is that hyperscalers have worries too and, while they have excellent relationships with enterprises, they fret about issues such as network security, operational monitoring and application delivery services.

They make better partners than opponents.

The AWS announcement comes as the attitudes of telcos to partnerships is changing. The annual survey from, the digital transformation section of which Openet/Amdocs sponsors, reveals (amongst a host of other things) that telcos increasingly believe in the power of partnerships.

In 2020, 50% of telcos believed that revenue from partnerships would amount to a mere 10% of overall revenue, whereas in 2021, 50% of telcos believe that between 10 and 30% of revenue will come from partnerships.

Partnerships for telcos is something that industry observers have long said is essential, not something that is nice to have. Now, it seems that this might be becoming a reality.

The AWS announcement was certainly one that got our attention and the timing was interesting, coming as it did about the time when the industry was wondering exactly what Standalone 5G would bring. But it seems that it was more of an invitation than a gauntlet.

With a growing belief that telcos will benefit financially from partnerships with hyperscalers, it will be interesting to watch what happens in 2022.

Good things perhaps.

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