Microwave Journal

Startups are the Rising Stars of 5G

September 28, 2017

Mobile networks are evolving in an end-to-end way to address the challenges and opportunities facing the mobile network operators (MNO). The next three to four years will witness mobile networks evolve in a way that is more transformational than was the shift to IP in mobile networks. ABI Research has released its Radio Access Network and Core Network Innovators report that identifies and highlights 15 start-ups that exhibit strong innovation to support this network transformation.

As the industry progresses toward the standardization and the launch of 5G in the 2019 to 2020 time-frame, operators need to address some key network performance and traffic management issues now. Technology trends that address these challenges today and also lay the groundwork for 5G in future include the:

  • application of virtualization and software-defined networking technologies to mobile networks
  • evolution of the mobile edge to improve customer quality of experience (QoE) and the creation of monetization opportunities for the operator
  • growing need for an effective self-organizing network (SON) solution, and
  • use of Big Data analytics to leverage granular network data to enhance network performance.

Athonet, CellWize, CellMining, AirHop Communications, Core Network Dynamics, Blue Danube and Vasona Networks are examples of the start-ups profiled that are poised to challenge the status-quo in the telecom industry.

Prayerna Raina, senior analyst of ABI Research, said, Traditionally operators have deployed a handful of infrastructure vendors in their networks, especially in the core network. Stagnating average revenue per user and increasing network traffic are driving operators to be more cost-effective and innovative in network performance and operations management and network upgrades. The end-to-end digital transformation toward virtualized and software defined networks is creating the opportunity for operators to open their highly proprietary networks and vendor ecosystem to include innovative start-ups.

She continued, The 15 companies we have profiled illustrate a strong business sense and innovative solutions. The telco start-ups we have profiled are challenging the incumbents in every way. From the flexibility of the solution to value-added services and a strong R&D focus, these companies are not just innovative, but also reflect an understanding of telco operators’ operational models as well as revenue and network performance challenges. With strong financial backing and active engagement with major partners in their ecosystem, these startups have proven their ability to meet operator requirements in tests and field deployments.