How AT&T Will Become a Software Telco

AT&T recently announced their User-Defined Network Cloud designed to allow customers to have more control while giving them the ability to add new network services in almost real-time in an on-demand fashion. You have heard me drone on about how the software telco is going to be the future of the telecom market and AT&T effectively has confirmed this idea throug this announcement regarding their Domain 2.0 supplier program.

The idea here is to bring more innovation into the carrier equipment space by allowing CSPs to run software on top of virtualized instances on OTS servers, allowing them to have the same flexibility inherent in data centers and typical cloud-based solutions.

The idea here is allowing services like WhatsApp and others to be rolled out quickly on the carrier network in order to compete more effectively with OTT players. This has been the holy grail since the advent of IMS but a little thing called the app store made it impossible for carriers to have control of the applications on their network. As carriers move to a software-oriented architechture they at least will be able to compete more effectively with OTT players which means they have a chance to keep customers and increase ARPU if they add value through innovative services.

“AT&T is transforming the WAN in the way IT transformed the data center,” said Roger Entner, Founder and Lead Analyst, Recon Analytics. “It’s an ambitious program and turns the traditional vendor relationship on its head, opening the doors for new, innovative companies to participate.”

The vendors so far which have been selected to participate in this initiative are Tail-F Systems, Metaswitch Networks and Ericsson. As you can imagine SDN and NFV will be a big part of this evolution. Moreover, it was last year at MWC where I met with Metaswitch and discussed the transformation of carriers to software telcos. This led us to launch Software Telco Congress which next takes place this August in Las Vegas.

In a conversation here at MWC with Frederick Lundberg of Tail-F Systems, he told me many carriers are looking to explore NFV and new virtualized architechtures but the challenge is to be able to automatically confingure and reconfigure network functions as needed. He said you typically need EMSs or element management systems for each vendor.

This is where their company comes in… They act as a network function orchestrator across network elements.

Their network control system or NCS handles these complexities and further allows carriers to manage legacy to virtualized network transition. Moreover, the system works across OSS/BSS systems as well as 20 equipment providers and he says they can develop support quickly for new vendors as they use a model-based approach.

It seems like the agre of the software telco is closer than ever. These are very exciting times.


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