Telcos: why it’s time to kick your network habit

Telcos have a deep and data-rich relationship with the customers on their networks. And yet, they have often failed to capitalize by providing anything more than a network pipe to the services that customers really engage with.


Why, then, is the industry still so utterly network-centric? It’s time to kick that network habit…


Start edging your bets

Telcos - it's time to kick your network habit. Photo by Thomas Jensen on Unsplash.Whether you sell to businesses or consumers, your customers need you to solve problems, deliver new experiences, or do both at the same time.

The services they need don’t live in the network. They live in the datacenter. In telecoms language they live at the edge: in everyone else’s, they live in the cloud. Datacenter, edge, cloud – today, they’re the same thing.

But we already do cloud!

Aha! That’s fine – like most Telcos you’re probably active in the cloud. You outsource it to AWS, Azure or Google, thus sacrificing margin and ownership of the customer. Neat.

Little wonder that leading analysts now relegate Telcos to the role of hyperscale cloud reseller. That’s it – if you’re an operator, and you want to do cloud, you go to one of those guys.

Yet, the same analysts show that IaaS services are growing at 32% CAGR. Can you say the same for any of your traditional network services? How much are you leaving on the table?

It took 18 Centuries for humankind to finally agree that the Earth wasn’t really at the center of the universe – most of humankind, anyway. If the telecoms industry is to achieve its long-hoped for ‘digital transformation’ it needs to abandon its network-centricity a good deal sooner.

Take back control

Network transformation doesn't add value if customer problems are still being solved in someone else's cloud. Photo by Yolanda Sun on Unsplash.How do you get out of this crazy situation? The answer is simple. You need your own cloud. You need to retake control of the point of consumption of the services your customers need. Be edge-centric, cloud-centric, service-centric – not network-centric.

IoT is a great example. Billions of devices generating data, and what’s good at transporting data? Our networks! All well and good. But who’s processing that data? Where does it live? Why is the problem being solved in someone else’s cloud?

5G is another. Yes, it’s going to transform the Internet, and enable all kinds of new experiences for billions of mobile rich content addicts – all of whom are going to experience it via someone else’s cloud. Unless there is a radical change of mindset, 5G will be just another pipe – faster, but still dumb.

The network will always be at the heart of your service, always be important, and always be part of your blended margin – but cloud-based services are what your customers will actually buy.

Get over the past – cloud is easier than you think

Telco cloud: it really isn't as hard as you think. Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash.If it were easy, you’d already be doing it, right? Well, today it really is. Telcos need to look past any previous experience of launching cloud services where tech partner products were difficult to implement, and slow to take to market.

Take something fundamental like billing, for example. Historically, Telcos have found it difficult to integrate cloud metering and billing models with traditional EDR/CDR (Event/Call Data Record)-based BSS and OSS systems.

Many still do when reselling Amazon or Azure cloud – and have had to hire a small army of administrators and developers to translate order and provisioning information into Amazonian, or Azurian, and make sense of the horrendously complex billing data that’s spat out in return.

Cloud doesn’t have to be complex

It really doesn’t have to be this way. At OnApp, we specialize in removing the complexity from cloud, so it’s easy to combine the next generation of network technologies with the compute and storage services you’ll need to take them to market.

Cloud doesn't have to be complex. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.Our clients typically adopt one of three strategies. Some are looking for an easy way to build new cloud propositions on top of their network portfolio. Some need a higher-margin alternative to reselling cloud, or a more cost-effective alternative to their existing cloud platform. Some want to divest datacenter infrastructure and focus purely on professional services and consultancy.

Whichever strategy works best for you, it’s by building repeatable simplicity into the automation and integration capabilities of your cloud that we remove that historic complexity – especially in key areas like billing, and yes, in network provisioning too.

By thinking cloud-first, not network-first, you’ll be well on the way to reclaiming your rightful place in your customers’ hearts, as well as their businesses.

Cloud on demand

Cloud Platform as a Service is now a reality. Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash.It’s not as if you even need infrastructure to do this. If you have a network of datacenters, that’s great – let’s put them to work. And if you don’t? You can still own a cloud without owning a datacenter.

“Cloud Platform as a Service” is now a reality, and gives you a way to move up the value chain (instead of just reselling) while freeing you from any technical debt your organization may have, in terms of cloud infrastructure management capabilities.

Building your own cloud service does not require vast amounts of CAPEX – you can do it on demand. We’d love to help –  drop us a line, and let’s chat!


Inside every Telco, there’s a cloud provider trying to get out…

Join our webinar on December 10th to discover the three keys to cloud success: