In the last few years, traditional telecoms operators have come in for a hard time. Some have been viewed as relics of an old era and ‘why can’t operators innovate’ was a common headline as market watchers compared them with the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple. It was argued that they had too much baggage and too little dynamism to be able to compete with the contemporary over-the-top providers for most customers’ attentions, and indeed their affections.
But network virtualisation is affording them a way to reinvent themselves in this new era of dynamic service provision. This is the view of Irish software vendor Openet, which specialises in providing virtualised business support systems.
“This is a transformational moment for the telecoms industry,” explains Openet chief executive Niall Norton. “Operators have been regarded for too long as the staid old gentlemen of the tech industry. Network virtualisation affords them a way to transform and expand their place in the value chain and, ultimately, to be more relevant to people’s lifestyles again”. The spiralling demand for data services will, ultimately, render existing network business models obsolete. The number of devices connected to the internet will treble in the next four years, and average data consumption will jump five-fold, suggests Norton. “There is this huge crush of demand, and you can’t go on building traditional networks when the revenue is not going up proportionally,” he says.