Why it’s time for a new telecoms ecosystem

  • Network operators want broader tech partner options 
  • Small, innovative developers want to engage with telcos
  • The current engagement model is outdated and broken
  • New industry paper outlines the challenges and invites action

In an industry often shackled by legacy technology, outdated relationship and procurement models are also holding back the telecoms sector. The most obvious example is the long-winded, resource-sapping process by which small, innovative startups are asked to engage with their prospective network operator customers, often without reward.

The telcos know this and, as they further embrace virtualized and even cloud native functions and the processes that come with those software elements, they are becoming increasingly keen to find new ways to work with, and tap into, a broader range of specialist developers and technology partners.

So there is willing from both the telcos and the community of small vendors, but what (if anything) can be done to shake things up and develop a new ecosystem?

That’s the focus of a new paper written by a group of experienced industry professionals that represent major operators, technology startups and the industry analyst community. Titled Accelerating Innovation in the Telecommunications Arena, it outlines the main challenges facing the industry and suggests “a new approach to collaboration with technology suppliers which eliminates the barriers to participation by smaller more innovative players; for example by simplifying the onerous requirements for procurement, and putting in place payment systems that provide them with more certainties on revenue.”

The authors are:

  • Caroline Chappell, Research Director, Analysys Mason
  • Don Clarke, Principal Consultant, Telecom Foresight Consulting 
  • Mark Cummings, CTO, Orchestral Networks
  • Diego R. Lopez, Senior Technology Expert, Telefónica
  • Klaus Martiny, Senior Programme Manager, Deutsche Telekom

The aim of this group is to kickstart a discussion that can encompass the industry and lead to real, impactful change. As they note in the short paper (only 5 pages):

"We do not claim unique insights in this paper; our intent is merely to seed a broader debate. We encourage the industry to initiate a collaborative dialogue involving key stakeholders to identify the barriers to innovation and investment, agree solutions, and initiate actions to implement them. The objectives are to identify a common vision for a healthy telecommunications ecosystem and to identify the commonality of processes for innovation."

To that end, the co-authors are inviting feedback and want to hear from those who have ideas about how a new ecosystem might be developed.

They have also participated in two panel discussions hosted by TelecomTV, to introduce the key points made in the paper and share their views and experiences.

The first panel, featuring Analysys Mason’s Caroline Chappell, Telefónica’s Diego Lopez, and Deutsche Telekom’s Klaus Martiny, is available to view now – Innovation in the Telecoms Ecosystem Part 1

The second panel will become available to view on 16 July, and features Don Clarke of Telecom Foresight Consulting, Mark Cummings from Orchestral Networks and special guest Andrew Coward, CEO at network technology startup Lumina Networks.

The paper, Accelerating Innovation in the Telecommunications Arena, is available to download now – click on this link.

TelecomTV believes this is a critical debate for the industry and will track developments closely, as well as participate in the process of sharing ideas and emerging ecosystem models.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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