The Network is Software Now: Adapting to the new mobile economics 2013-2018
|今、ネットワークはソフトウェア：新しいモバイルエコノミクスへの適応 The Network is Software Now: Adapting to the new mobile economics 2013-2018|
|出版日: 2013年12月01日||ページ情報: 英文||
A successful and profitable mobile network increasingly relies more on software than hardware. Increasingly detailed analytics and optimization tools; the convergence of network data with IT systems such as customer relationship management; and intelligent resource allocation are among the most important ways to make a modern RAN deliver the best performance in the most efficient way, and therefore support strong quality of experience at affordable cost.
This trend has been building throughout the 3G era, but is gathering pace with the rise of mobile broadband and the advent of LTE. Tools like self-organizing network (SON) systems were once expected to be integrated into hardware, but the increasingly complexity of networks - especially HetNets which rely on hundreds of thousands of small cells - have led to the rise of specialized software offerings.
The move to software is not just about optimization tools and the new OSS, though these will dominate carriers' network software budgets in the period 2013-2018. Upgrades to new Release 9 and 10 LTE standards such as CoMP (coordinated multipoint) are increasingly achieved mainly in software, with the main LTE-Advanced hardware changes focusing on antennas.
And eventually, the network really will become software as carriers start to virtualize key activities such as the packet core as software applications on standard servers or commodity routers. In Cloud-RAN, an extension of the trend to build modern mobile networks in a highly distributed way, the base station functions are all virtualized on a central server, leaving just a stripped-down antenna/radio unit at the cell site.
This important shift in network planning will have a profound effect on the patterns of mobile operator spending. Not only will software capex increasingly outweigh the hardware budget, but there will also be a major shift to opex, driven in particular by network sharing and by managed services/outsourcing deals.
This report analyzes and forecasts these trends in detail, based on operator-by-operator modeling of the top 40 mobile carrier groups in the world (a total of 152 operating units.; ongoing tracking of the 4G network spending plans of the top 100 LTE providers; and extensive interviews with the entire RAN vendor base and supply chain.
The result is a detailed examination of how RAN platforms will evolve in terms of cell site and IT platforms, both hardware and software, in the period to 2018, and the economic benefits carriers expect to gain from the new networks. Based on analysis of current cutting edge deployments as well as the future plans of operators and the ecosystem, the report provides market sizes, forecasts and capex values for the key elements of the new RAN - cells of all sizes, carrier Wi-Fi, C-RAN servers, and important network software categories such as SON and NFV.
As mobile operators face rising capex bills to meet mobile data demand combined with falling ARPU, they are turning to radical new network designs. The end result of the new approach will be a dramatic refocusing of spending and M&A towards software, and a shift from capex to opex spending, driven by trends like shared RAN and managed services.
Mobile operators are facing a period when users will consume up to 32 times more wireless data by 2018, requiring massive increases in network capacity; but in which ARPU will rise by only 2.5%. A network design which delivers substantial, and well-targeted, capacity, while slashing cost of delivery, is essential to any business model. No single solution will provide all the answers, and carriers will use a combination of tools including Wi-Fi offload, small cells, distributed and cloud-based RANs, and LTE-Advanced upgrades. Software intelligence will be critical and the period will see the complete reworking of the OSS (operations support system); convergence with the BSS and IT platforms; and the start of a significant uptake of software defined networking, particularly NFV (Network Functions Virtualization).
The dramatic new approach to RAN planning will both drive, and be enabled by, the availability of new generation optimization and OSS tools. Operators need a complex mixture of cell sizes, spectrum bands and technologies to meet mobile data demands at manageable cost, and this will drive them towards a HetNet (heterogenous network) in which all these elements can be seamlessly combined to form a common pool of flexibly deliverable capacity.
The HetNet enablers which will receive the greatest investment during 2013-2018 will be:
Full software defined networking (SDN) will be a decade or more in development for carriers, but there will be significant moves towards this during 2013-2018. In particular, the survey of operators found that there will be rapid acceptance of NFV from 2015, and an increasing participation of major cellcos in open source movements such as OpenStack, as they seek to optimize such platforms for carrier requirements.
More immediately, the main two trends which will transform operator spending in software will be the evolution of a new OSS geared to small cells and HetNet, and the convergence of systems which have traditionally lived in data centers, such as billing, with real time network data and tools, such as prepaid charging. These two developments will see massive upheaval in the BSS/OSS community and bring far more suppliers into the heart of the RAN.
All this will drive the rebalancing of carriers' network budgets from hardware - which is starting to commoditize, at the cell site though not the data center - to software, which provides greater potential for competitive edge. There will also be a significant shift from capex-driven to opex-driven spending. As HetNets become increasingly complex, many carriers will look to outsource some or all of their network activities, in deals ranging from conventional managed services agreements, to more specific arrangements like SCaaS (small cell as a service).
All these important elements of network investment will, to a greater or lesser extent, spark upheaval in the traditional supplier ecosystem. At the top end, IT giants like Cisco and Oracle will go up against Ericsson and the others in the RAN itself, not just in the data center.
With a rising number of network functionalities required for efficient performance, there will also be more specialist providers, which will in turn be the catalyst for a round of M&A among the major players.
The report identifies the key vendors in each of the key areas of RAN evolution and analyzes the changing competitive landscape. The most disruptive areas are identified as:
Although there are a few leading operators which are driving the roll-out of new approaches such as C-RAN, most carriers will only make major investments in HetNet technologies once there is a broad ecosystem to drive down prices and boost confidence. Standards will be critical for this, and for ensuring interoperability to support roaming and the dream of multivendor HetNets.
The most important standards during this period will be:
All the trends outlined above will reshape the way RANs are deployed and the ecosystem that supports them. The changes will be gradual, but will have a profound ripple effect throughout the mobile broadband community, both operators and vendors. The report provides a full set of forecasts for the various types of base station, including metrocells, macrocells, C-RAN and carrier Wi-Fi, and for the most important software elements of the new RAN.
An important element of the forecast, and of carrier LTE planning, will be the allocation of spectrum and the addition of new spectrum sources via refarming and unlicensed bands.
The 1.8GHz GSM band and the 700MHz band (Asia-Pacific band plan) will emerge as the dominant areas of the licensed spectrum for LTE, as the graph shows, but there will also be considerable disruptive effect from rising use of unlicensed frequencies; spectrum sharing in areas like TV white spaces or government bands; and the beginnings of dynamic spectrum allocation on-demand, as also being piloted in the white spaces. Already in 2013, mobile operators will derive 22% of the additional capacity they deploy from Wi-Fi spectrum rather than licensed options.
Despite the focus on software, there will still be hefty investment, totaling $22.4bn in 2018, in cell site hardware as operators continue to upgrade to LTE and introduce dense HetNets. Public access small cells will pick up significantly from the second half of 2014 and hit 7.5m unit sales in 2018, with 75% of those cells integrating Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, overall macro layer deployments will fall gradually after 2014, with negative CAGR of 10% in the period, but there will be growth opportunities in certain areas such as Cloud-RAN and smart antennas. For instance, AAS (Active Antenna System), after a slow start, will grow at just over 100% a year even in a declining macro BTS market.
LTE, carrier Wi-Fi and HetNet are the main drivers of network investment. By 2018, 94% of new base stations deployed will be LTE or 4G multimode, and 95% of those will support some features of LTE-Advanced, most commonly carrier aggregation, CoMP and eICIC.