Heavy Reading Disaggregation Survey Report Part 3

Heavy Reading Disaggregation Survey Report Part 3

We have looked at plans for disaggregation and implementing functional splits in Heavy Reading’s survey of operators. In this post, we want to look at issues that affect TCO and operations. 

Operators were asked to rank their top factors motivating your organization to adopt disaggregated networking solutions.

Faster innovation and flexibility in adopting the latest technology was the top response, selected by 51% of respondents. The ability to launch new services and increase revenue came in second with 39% of respondents). Following closely with 38% was CapEx reduction. The top two answers are closely linked as new technology is required to generate new service revenue.

“It is notable that, while it is an important factor, capex reduction is not the primary driver in deploying disaggregated networks. In the early days of white box and virtualization, capex reduction typically scored at the top of the list in terms of drivers. However, as time has progressed, operators have increasingly focused on services and revenue benefits—exactly as respondents have indicated in this survey.”

As we have noted in past posts, that the use of virtualization started as a way to cut costs by running multiple workloads on a single server. The operational benefits of virtualization translated into much greater agility and that is also key for operators. Service agility ties directly to faster time to revenue.  Thus, it follows that there is strong interest in virtualization.

An overwhelming majority of 93% of respondents anticipate some level of RAN function virtualization. There are different expectations for different options, but the move toward virtualization is clear.

Finally, Heavy Reading asked operators about their views on pricing models for disaggregated hardware and software. At 55%, more than half of global operators surveyed reported that they prefer subscription models for network software versus 45% that prefer perpetual licenses. Preference for a subscription model represents a change from legacy approaches where operators have bought hardware and software upfront (often at discounted prices) but then have been locked into suppliers for ongoing support and maintenance. Volta sees this as way to better align cost and revenue while minimizing the need to frontload costs in a CapEx budget.

The full report is available here and you can watch the on-demand webinar where Telefonica and MTN discussed their views.