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Telecom Companies: The Cloud Clock is Ticking!

by Daryl Plummer  |  March 3, 2009  |  3 Comments

I state up front that I am not a primary telecommunications analyst – but I have friends who are (give me or Bob Hafner a call to discuss). But, in the last 6 months, I think I have either met with, or spoken with every major telecom provider in the world. They all have the same question – “what is the real opportunity for us in the cloud?” With few exceptions, I have had to tell them much the same thing – “get closer to the ultimate consumer” if you want to be relevant long term in anything. See my post in cloud infrastructure commoditization to see where this goes.

So, the nice thing is that all these companies have some thing to offer from network to carrier relationships to governance to deep customer knowledge. And guess what – they all know how to be service providers (See my post on ISVs failing this test).

I keep looking at this and trying to ferret out the real opportunities for telecom companies with cloud computing and so far, I can’t say that I am convinced they will be able to beat IBM at the “Enterprise” cloud game, but I can say that if they are bold (and if they can weather the economic crisis), then there are several areas of key interest from my perspective:

1 – The network touches almost everything – think about it.

2 – Do your carriers have deep relationships with the ultimate consumer that you can leverage?

3 РCan you do something that others are not good at, given your historical position as pre-cloud service providers (i.e.  billing support, customer service, monitoring, provisioning, metrics, payment model)? If so, you might find an entry point.

4 – Are you doing all you can with context awareness and communications-enablement?

If all these things are on your drawing board, then you may find an easier entry to this cloud game than others who are not looking at them. But be warned – these things are not a secret, and you either have the ability to generate interest by delving into them, or you need to partner with someone who can. Those who are giants in this area – and you know who you are – make haste.

The clock is ticking – and you need to make a splash before all the other emerging cloud players make this a moot point.

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Category: cloud  emerging-phenomena  emerging-trends  service-orientation  

Tags: billing  cloud  inrastructure  private-cloud  telecom-enabled  telecommunications  

Daryl C. Plummer
Managing VP & Gartner Fellow
18 years at Gartner
35 years IT industry

Daryl Plummer is vice president, chief of Research and chief Gartner Fellow. Mr. Plummer manages the Gartner Fellows Program, which is designed to allow senior analysts the opportunity to explore new research ideas and to elevate… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Telecom Companies: The Cloud Clock is Ticking!

  1. Misha Nossik says:

    There is a huge opportunity for carriers to disrupt the PC business by delivering virtual personal computing as a telco-based consumer service. Broadband service providers can become a channel for the software vendors. The basic elements are there:
    – broadband is fast enough to carry the remote display rendering protocol and deliver good-enough user experience
    – end devices in the formfactor of netbooks are cheap and attractive enough to become stateless clients for the cloud services delivery
    – servers are powerful enough and virtualization-enabled to host Virtual Desktops and Applications with high enough density to make such hosting technically and economically feasible

    My company ( provides the “fourth element” – the universal platform that makes it easy for carriers to deploy, and for users to access cloud services.

    Mix ubiquitous broadband, sexy zero-touch stateless clients, virtualized datacenter infrastructure and the universal services delivery platform, and you have a formula to to make digital lifestyle effortless for nearly a billion of existing users, readily available to the remaining 5 billion potential users and profitable for carriers and their software partners.

  2. Song Bac Toh says:

    The cloud space continues to see a lot of activities, including Amazon Web Services running their annual world tour and IBM touting their Cloudburst.

    The telecom offerings can be very interesting for someone looking to reduce infrastructure cost and shift from most of project expenses from capex to opex. However, going with a single cloud (or virtualization) vendor may lock you into a position with little leverage.

    I think CIOs owe it to themselves to consider a neutral provisioning and self-service server provisioning layer as they move towards the cloud or virtualization. Service Catalog is one such solution and was cited as an interface between VM consumers and producers in the recent VMWare webcast on “When Virtualization Meets Cloud Computing”. While I work for a company that provides such a solution (, it is not the only one out there. The key is that Data Centers do need to consider a platform neutral management solution.

  3. […] warnings have been sounded from certain quarters that the clock is ticking down for service providers, and that they risk losing out if they don’t get their act together. I […]

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