Liberty Global: 5G SA is among 'tech stacks' to transition telcos to tech cosLiberty Global: 5G SA is among 'tech stacks' to transition telcos to tech cos
Liberty Global's Madalina Suceveanu said certain technologies will be critical in moving the needle for telcos to transition to tech cos. One such technology is 5G standalone.
October 26, 2023
PARIS – Network X 2023 – Telcos' longstanding envy of the speed at which hyperscalers innovate new services has translated in recent years to a desire to rebrand from telcos to "tech cos."
Madalina Suceveanu, managing director of mobile and cloud for Liberty Global, said in a panel this morning that certain technologies will be critical in moving the needle for telcos to transition to tech cos. One such technology is 5G standalone (5G SA).
Suceveanu said 5G SA is a "proper tech stack" that will provide operators with the foundation needed to speed up the development of new technologies and managed enterprise services.
"5G SA is a fully cloud-based, service-based type of architecture," said Suceveanu. She explained that 5G SA is also foundational to furthering network automation and providing "faster capacity upgrades" in the network.
Suceveanu added that in moving from a telco to tech co, operators need to transform their business culture and the time to market for new services. Digitizing internal processes will also be a key way for service providers to improve the customer experience, she said.
The transition to tech co also requires the "convergence of multiple disciplines" where DevOps and SecOps combine into "more of a Net/Sec/DevOps team, and we're emerging our skills as well," said panelist Colin Bannon, CTO for BT Business. In addition to upskilling employees and creating more collaborative teams, Bannon said operators should co-innovate alongside customers.
Telcos should also focus less on reselling hypserscalers' services and more on co-creation of new technologies to "solve for specific customer problems," he added. This process isn't necessarily easy, however, for either party.
"It's very hard from a hyperscaler's perspective to work with an individual telco that's just in one country, because the amount of development overhead becomes difficult," said Bannon.
'World's worst night club'
Co-creation is also a challenging proposition for service providers, many of whom saw hyperscalers as existential threat a few years ago, he said.
"On the data side, I would describe [hyperscalers] as the world's worst night club. It's free to get the data in, but you have to pay to get it back out," said Bannon. Data privacy concerns were brought up earlier this week at Network X – Light Reading's Iain Morris explained in a video why Deutsche Telekom and Three UK are among operators that aren't ready to go all-in on use of the public cloud to support telco and IT workloads.
"I think people get the impression that everything's moving into the public cloud, but that doesn't seem to be the case," said Morris. "There's a lot happening on the IT side – the OSS and the BSS – but when it comes to the core network, even less so with the radio access network, there's not a lot happening outside one or two examples such as Dish putting everything inside AWS."
While there will likely be concerns over data sharing for the near term, Liberty Global's Suceveanu pointed out that a benefit of partnering with hyperscalers is providing telcos with the ability to launch new services quickly and at scale.
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