Expect more frenemies in the edge
The hyperscale cloud players have clearly demonstrated the power of their massive networks in terms of application hosting and development. But it’s the telcos that have the beachfront property in their established network infrastructure that’s closest to end users. Cloud providers will try to build an edge of their own, but service providers will remain, keepers of the edge, as they can compete with much better economic scale. Over the next year, service providers and cloud providers will compete to win the edge but expect more cloud-SP partnerships to unfold as the year progresses.
In India specifically, falling data tariffs and smartphone prices have made India the largest consumer of mobile data globally. To cater to this explosive growth in data traffic while delivering on superior user experience, a rise in the consolidation of data centre colocations and the deployment of micro datacentres can be expected. This is to better enable the implementation of mobile edge computing in order to achieve 5G readiness while improving performance in the existing 4G network.
Pervasiveness of content streaming
With 5G comes the rise in IoT and on-the-go video and content streaming. As digital subscriptions increase, service providers in India are focusing on digital subscriber lines and/or Fiber-to-the-home access to deliver higher quality content to their customers. Partnerships with OTT players and content companies are also expected to grow as service providers in India continue to identify new revenue streams.
Service providers in India are exploring multiple avenues to address the rising cost challenges to address ever growing network demands and also to remain competitive. The focus has shifted from a shared infrastructure to creating subsidiary companies to allow for improved capital structure and lower operating costs. Encouraged by the success in monetization of their tower infrastructure, service providers such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea are now also extending the same to fibre network assets as well.
Automation is the secret to customer satisfaction
In 2019, automation will be the differentiating factor among service providers. Early software and virtualization technology have provided some relief from stagnant development but this year service providers will fully adopt automated and virtualized cloud platforms that can deploy new services in months, not years. Those who fail to implement automation will find themselves years behind competitors, as end users will find more agility and better service with those who embrace automation.
5G will create a new billion-dollar app economy
The first smartphones and eventually LTE networks paved the way for mobile apps as we know them, giving rise to a multitude of new ways companies interact with customers. 5G is poised to go live in many cities across the United States and globally in 2019, and we expect next year to really showcase the economic power of the new mobile technology. This is the year apps start to show their real value in the enterprise and industrial space with a host of new IoT, AR/VR, digital twins and connected-car applications coming to life.