& cplSiteName &

Startup Could Replace Ericsson, Says Orange

Iain Morris
6/9/2017
50%
50%

A tiny startup that says its software can turn PCs into mobile basestations could be a viable alternative to 110,000-employee-strong Ericsson in telcos' national networks, according to a senior technology executive at France's Orange.

Lilliputian Amarisoft this week became one of four network startups to secure backing from Orange (NYSE: FTE) and social networking giant Facebook as part of a new initiative to support young telecom infrastructure players. (See Orange, VCs Commit $113M to Network Startups as 'Black Box' Frustration Mounts.)

Bertrand Rojat, the deputy vice president of Orange's Technocentre R&D unit, tells Light Reading that Orange's main objective is to "get into a commercial relationship" with the startups after ensuring their technologies can work in large networks.

Rojat says it is entirely conceivable that Amarisoft -- along with another startup it is supporting called Athonet -- could displace Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) in the future on a national scale.

"These two startups are developing full software core networks and I believe for us it is a very interesting alternative to our regular way of working," he said. "The challenge is scaling the solution -- we are talking about millions of subscribers -- and that is the kind of thing we will have to test."

His remarks point to the upheaval taking place in the telecom sector as operators take advantage of new software and virtualization technologies and look to sever ties with the large equipment incumbents.

That a startup with just a handful of employees could represent a serious alternative to a giant such as Ericsson would have been unthinkable only a few years ago and illustrates the dramatic impact that software and "cloud" technologies are having on the market.

It is also a sign of telcos' growing frustration with existing suppliers and the slow pace of network innovation.

The likes of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Orange have previously complained that vendors have become too powerful, tying their customers into long contracts based on proprietary technology. Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has suggested some vendors could be forced out of business as operators look for more innovative, software-based technologies in the 5G era.

Amarisoft claims that its software covers the basestation and network backbone and can operate on standard-PC type equipment. This virtualization of the radio access network is perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing companies like Ericsson, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) that have thrived in a more hardware-based mobile infrastructure market.

It is also one of the biggest priorities for mobile operators, according to Facebook, which has become a hugely disruptive force in the network market over the past year.


For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.


With its Telecom Infra Project (TIP), launched in early 2016, the Internet company is trying to speed up the pace of network innovation, and reduce equipment costs, through "open" collaboration with players from all parts of the ecosystem. (See Facebook: TIP Will Open Telecom Hardware.)

"One of the reasons we did this was to hear from mobile operators what their needs are and we hear that V-RAN [virtual radio access network] is very high on the list," said Steve Jarrett, Facebook's head of infrastructure partnerships for Europe and the Middle East, during an investor event at Orange's offices in Paris earlier this week.

The V-RAN market is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 125% over the next three years, with V-RAN deployments accounting for a market worth $2.6 billion in 2020, according to SNS Research.

But Amarisoft CEO Franck Spinelli says that convincing investors and operators to back his company against the big guns is not easy.

"Ericsson and Nokia are service companies that can bring 11 people to a meeting with Orange, whereas we don't have 11 people in the company," he said at Orange's investor event. "I need to prove to people like Orange that what we do is of the same quality as a Nokia basestation."

The support from Orange and Facebook should put Amarisoft in direct contact with a large community of mobile operators through TIP, as well as the French operator's Go Ignite initiative with Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY).

"If we have a startup that is good for one of us, then it might be good for all of us," says Rojat.

Spinelli's other big concern is about the growing telco emphasis on open source technology, which he describes as "incompatible" with Amarisoft's business model. (See Open Sores: Are Telcos on a Collision Course With Vendors?)

He said that Amarisoft had encountered "strong resistance" within TIP, which is widely perceived to be an open source project, and expressed disappointment with the Facebook initiative so far.

Responding to those criticisms, Facebook's Jarrett this week announced plans to set up a new group that would support technology licensing on so-called "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (or RAND) terms. (See Facebook Takes TIP in New Direction as Investors Doubt Open Source Payback.)

However, Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg, who has been heavily involved with TIP, insists that RAND has always been an option for TIP's working groups and that most of the existing ones have been set up with this approach in mind.

On the vendor side, TIP members Nokia and Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) declined to comment on the group's latest move away from open source. Executives at ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), which are also involved with the project, did not respond to requests for comment.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Javier Mtz
0%
100%
Javier Mtz,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/16/2017 | 5:13:37 PM
Open?
How innovative are they for not using patented technology? How to cope with the high capacity demands of real time communication? Interesting to see.
sarcher60555
100%
0%
sarcher60555,
User Rank: Lightning
6/14/2017 | 10:01:06 AM
Vendor Finance?
How will this small startup survive payment terms of any Telco?
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (2) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
What's a Little Throttling Between Friends?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/24/2017
Qualcomm Takes Q3 Pummeling From Apple
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.