Telcos need more vendors to meet their needs – report

DSP Leaders Council Industry Vision Report

DSP Leaders Council Industry Vision Report

  • Thousands of companies already sell their technology wares to telcos
  • We asked the DSP Leaders Council members if any more vendors were needed
  • The answer was a very resounding ‘Yes’!

The halls at MWC24 in Barcelona are going to be packed, not only with attendees but also with the stands, booths and meeting rooms of thousands of technology vendors that want to sell their wares to the world’s network operators – so does the telecom sector already have all the technology developers and suppliers it needs? Not according to the members of TelecomTV’s DSP Leaders Council

We recently conducted a survey with the councillors, who represent a broad range of companies across the telecom sector including digital/communications service providers (DSPs/CSPs), vendors, large enterprises and analysts, and asked them a variety of questions about key industry trends and developments, including a few related to the vendor landscape, procurement processes and capex (capital expenditure). The results of the survey were published in the DSP Leaders Council Industry Vision Report, which is available now (for free). 

The shape and size of the vendor community has come into sharp focus in recent years as while there are still thousands of suppliers and partners engaged with network operators around the world, a small number of large companies capture a very large slice of the procurement action from the telco community. In recent years, consolidation has shrunk the number of vendor big hitters – just mention Nortel or Lucent if conversation lulls during any drinks parties in Barcelona or any other industry gathering – while political and economic tensions in recent years have resulted in the ostracisation of the Chinese vendors in many markets and, along with other industry trends, have sparked increasing interest in the vendor landscape-shifting potential of network systems disaggregation and open interfaces (with Open RAN being the most high-profile example). The theory is that with disaggregation, network operators can deploy best-of-breed network elements from multiple vendors and open up new opportunities for innovative newcomers to the telco technology procurement scene. 

But even with the shifting demands of telcos as they migrate away from legacy, closed and often proprietary systems and more towards cloud-native processes and architectures, can’t the large current body of vendors deliver the required goods?

We asked our councillors, ‘Do DSPs/CSPs need a broader ecosystem of vendors to meet their needs?’ 

The answer, as you can see from the graphic above, is a resounding ‘Yes’ (86%), while just 11% believe no more vendors are needed and just 3% weren’t sure. 

This somewhat surprising result (I didn’t expect the Yes option to receive that many votes) offers some hope for the companies that believe they have innovative new products that can make a difference: However, as we know, just having a great proposition/product doesn’t mean a specialist company will win any business in the telecom sector, as current procurement processes are not conducive to engagement with new entrants – that’s a topic we covered in a separate question. 

To see what that question was and how the councillors voted, check out the 20-page DSP Leaders Council Industry Vision Report, which is available to download now. 

We’ve already shared the councillors’ views on the most important technology developments for telcos over the next three years and on the so-called ‘fair share’ debate – see Green networks, next-gen OSS/BSS vital to telco developments – report and ‘Fair share’ debate splits the industry – survey.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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