Open Source Software Will Push Telecom’s Innovation Agenda By 2025: ABI Research

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  • The report said that a key consideration before OSS garners vendors’ support is the means of monetisation
  • OSS is gradually driving the innovation agenda for communications service providers (CSPs)

Open source software (OSS) holds the potential to play a key role in telco cloud deployments, a market that will potentially grow to $29 billion by 2025 as per a report by ABI Research. It said that OSS is gradually driving the innovation agenda for communications service providers (CSPs). By doing this, is posing a challenge to the dominance of proprietary solutions in the telecoms industry.

The report said that OSS and by extension, cloud technologies, promise nimbleness, but whether CSPs can seize the opportunity has to be seen. As per them, telecoms are driven by standard bodies that have long cycle times to next-generation technologies.

Means of monetisation

Don Alusha, senior analyst at ABI Research said, “Though CSPs are at different timeslots in their digitalization journey, they should collectively propel the open source agenda forward. A close collaboration between standard bodies and open source communities is a step in that direction.”

Another key feature before OSS that leads to vendors’ support is the means of monetization. There are two main monetization models that vendors can potentially use to commercialise OSS. As per the report, one is the “support model and the alternative where the core of the product is open source, but vendors add proprietary bells and whistles on top.”

Network operations and commercial undertakings

The report said that in telecoms, the adoption of OSS is already underway among CSPs and it will almost certainly become mainstream by 2025. It said that CSPs no longer hold reservations in adopting OSS but are now considering ways to include it in their network operations and commercial undertakings. But, telecoms infrastructure is characterised by “stringent performance, reliability and security requirements that require telco-specific arrangements.”

Alusha adds, “Commercial models notwithstanding, telco vendors like Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE can potentially leverage OSS to realize performance and scalability as they transition their products to cloud-native equivalents. At present, OSS serves as an enablement technology for these vendors as opposed to building a business out of OSS. But eventual diffusion of 5G may well mean that vendors will need to invest significantly in open source projects to develop carrier-grade products and services in next 5 years. When that take place, vendors will need to channel time and investment to establish a presence in open source communities.”

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