Huawei's OTF 2018: Time to Go Digital

MUNICH -- Operations Transformation Forum 2018 -- Digital transformation has been talked about for years but, for communications service providers, it is becoming a necessity rather than an optional extra as they plan and implement their 5G strategies.

But what does this mean for network operators? It's much more than just being able to interact with, and sell to, customers via digital platforms, though of course this is still critical. It involves a shift to cloud platforms, the introduction of new automated processes and a revamped culture -- all major challenges.

Here in Munich, network operators, representatives from industry organizations, industry analysts and, of course, senior Huawei executives are looking at the industry's progress towards becoming truly digital. What's clear is that there are plenty of ideas, technologies and strategies but there's still a long way to go for most telcos to transform from network infrastructure operators to digital enablers.

Check out our slide show to see who's here in Germany and what they had to say.

OTF 2018 Begins
Hundreds of industry executives settle into the keynote arena in Munich's Infinity hotel to listen to the insights and experiences of their peers.
Hundreds of industry executives settle into the keynote arena in Munich's Infinity hotel to listen to the insights and experiences of their peers.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner 9/6/2018 | 6:33:17 PM
Re: Will anyone 'dominate' edge computing? Seems that the makings of such a wholesale market is already underway. This discussion brings to mind what Ericsson is trying to accomplish with its edge compute-focused Unified Delivery Network. If service providers indeed need to step up their game here, there appears to be some buy vs. build options emerging. JB 

Jeff Baumgartner 9/6/2018 | 6:29:59 PM
Making the migration... a Mountain or a Molehill? Since this is requiring new technologies, mindsets and a shift in culture, figuring out how to make this evolutionary move without upsetting all the legacy seems like a mountain in itself that will have to be moved. I'm dating myself here, but back when IMS was a Shiny New Thing, some service provider execs, more than once, said it will be like changing the fuselage of an airliner while it's in flight. Is the challenge here going to be similarly difficult? JB 
[email protected] 9/6/2018 | 12:38:19 PM
Will anyone 'dominate' edge computing? The GSMA's Laxmi Akkaraju, noted how critical edge computing will be for 5G deployments, urging mobile operators to "step up and step in" to the edge computing opportunities and not be left behind by the likes of Amazon...

There's little doubt that the mobile operators need to figure out what they are going to do and how... but if they can think about how to partner and share resources with a company such as Amazon, that might be a more productive way forward. No one company, or set of cmpanies, is going to dominate distributed cloud resources, I believe. 

I can only see a future where there might be a significant 'wholesale market' for edge compute.  
Mitch Wagner 9/6/2018 | 12:34:51 PM
Re: Turkcell -- a Huawei customer for 5G? Apple approach? You mean build their own technology stack from the ground up, rather than license it from other people, as most tech companies do? That's a tough approach, requiring an enormous capital investment, but it pays off in control. 
Phil Harvey 9/6/2018 | 11:42:22 AM
Re: Turkcell -- a Huawei customer for 5G? Yes, I think I saw some of that via a video demo at MWC a year or so ago. I think they have done quite a bit of work themselves but, as 5G approaches, maybe they are looking to add pure horsepower to their network with Huawei gear. I dunno. It's a really interesting operator because they seem to have an Apple approach and it seems work for them.
iainmorris 9/6/2018 | 11:30:05 AM
Re: Turkcell -- a Huawei customer for 5G? They do have a pretty sophisticated back-end system that shows things like the number of people using a specific basestation at any given time. The CEO gave me a demo of that in Munich this week and said it had largely been developed internally, and not with partners.  
Mitch Wagner 9/6/2018 | 10:50:06 AM
Necessary transformation Telcos need to become more responsive to their customers to increase their customer satisfaction scores and remain competitive against nimble OTT players. Transforming their own digital infrastructure is a necessary first step. And that transformation will also allow telcos to serve as positive examples to their enterprise customers, winning enterprise business.
Phil Harvey 9/6/2018 | 10:00:53 AM
Turkcell -- a Huawei customer for 5G? Didn't Turkcell build all their software and a lot of their gear themselves? I don't recall them being a big customer of Huawei (or anyone else). I thought they were kind of a one-off story that's hard to replicate, a lot like Reliance Jio in that they integrated everything so well and so tightly because it was all their code, development and gear.

I could be wrong about all of that, but I did notice that Huawei is courting Turkcell with 5G gear so that could be the connection. They're not a big customer now, but likely will be.
Kelsey Ziser 9/6/2018 | 9:11:06 AM
The value of KQI's Michael Haeberle's comments regarding the benefits of accessing key quality indicators in real-time caught my attention. The ability to predict issues before they arise and address potential customer complaints before they happen will be a boon for service providers.
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