The Debate: CSP to DSP Transformation.

The trend for Communication Service Providers towards Digital Service Providers (CSPs to DSPs)

This article was first published on as a linked in article on 14th December.

Last week I attended the rather excellent & unique Great Telco Debate event, organised and orchestrated by TelecomTV and Lewis Insight , the premise of the event being a set of motions that are presented, discussed by a panel of experts and then voted on by the audience in attendance. Not a single corporate PowerPoint presentation in sight, the interaction is therefore lively and the debate is engaging. 

Read more: The Debate: CSP to DSP Transformation.

The first of these motions was the Telco to DSP migration is still a pipe dream, (I won’t disclose how the motion was voted on, you can watch that for yourself on TelecomTV website), which prompted discussion and soul searching from the industry to decide whether this is really happening or not or indeed whether telcos can be successful in the migration.  The key drivers towards becoming a DSP are basically

  1. to move up the value chain away from just connectivity services towards the traditional telco enterprise customers,
  2. the need to improve at delivering services to the enterprise customer and,
  3. help in customers automation and digitalisation journeys. 

As a new greenfield “telco” on the block, ConnectiviTree (CTree) is somewhat bucking the trend of this laboured and honestly to date less than successful move away from pure connectivity to digital services. Instead focussing on creating value within the connectivity layer, specifically international, cross border high capacity, low latency and secure data transport for the telco industry. This value is created through automating that process and delivery, making it simple to consume and providing global scale, allowing Telcos to focus on enhancing their service offering to the enterprise market and enabling that transition to a DSP. 

During the discussion in London, it was noted that in order to succeed in this migration to becoming a DSP, the CSP needs to be omnipresent, whereas at present, telco is fixed to a geography with their product and service offerings and providing the global scale for their enterprise customers is challenging and time consuming, far from automated and often a manual bespoke process. Our focus at CTree is purely on that international data transport, we are intentionally keeping the service offering to the telco & partner sector simple and focused at that connectivity layer to address the pain points in that journey from CSP to DSP. 

As Chris Lewis quipped during the debate, maybe the right term is not DSP but ESP, Enabling Service Provider, I do like to think of us at CTree as enabling the telco, carrier, CSP or DSP, (however they wish to identify) to make that journey of providing to their enterprise customers the “as a service” experience that they need.

Thanks to Chris Lewis & Graham Wilde for positioning the motions of the day, to Ray Le Maistre & Guy Daniels who led the discussions and panels.

Congratulations to the TelecomTV team for an excellent day of conversation and engagement.


Even a wireless network needs wires – Next Generation Optical Networking Conference

Recently I attended and spoke at the Next Generation Optical Networking Conference held in Nice, France.

Key topics discussed during the conference included

  • 100G in the Metro,
  • SDN in the transmission/transport layer
  • IP/Optical Convergence
  • 200/400G Evolution.
  • Datacentre evolution & geographical spread

I spoke at two sessions during the four days.  First in one of the pre-conference workshops WDM-PON Networking. In this session I introduced Three UK and discussed WDM in the access environment for mobile backhaul and participated in a panel discussion with Fabienne Saliou of Orange Labs on the subject.

On the final day I presented to the conference during a section on Fronthaul & mobile backhaul. The title of my paper being “Even a Wireless Network needs Wires.”

I gave an example of a complex mobile backhaul environment and discussed some of the future requirements that architectures such as C-RAN may bring to the transport network.



The Rising Tide of Mobile Data.

Just recently I spoke at my first industry conference of the year, Transport Networks for Mobile Operators Conference held in London.  A good opportunity to strike up some new contacts and business relationships.

In my address I put forward the case for demonstrating that the global rise in mobile data traffic was no longer a tsunami but in fact more of a rising tide with the sea levels rising each year.  I presented statistics from the last 7 years within the Three UK network which has been leading the market in mobile broadband volumes in the UK to illustrate my point.   Being a scuba diver, one who looks for the turning of the daily tides and slack water, I found it interesting that whilst in UK waters we experience two tides (High, Low, High, Low) a day, in the terms of Mobile data usage, there is only one tide in a day.

The Mobile Data Tide
The Mobile Data Tides of the Day

The slide on the right taken from my presentation illustrates a typical midweek day in March 2014, with a low water mark around 5am and a high water mark around 10pm. Weekends also look like this with the axis shifted one hour to the right.  It seems the UK consumer likes to stay in bed an hour later on the weekend and stay up an hour later using their mobile devices.  Month on month, year on year the overall volume of data traffic has continued to rise and overall market and industry trends bear this out and the outlook towards the end of the decade and the development of 5G indicates this will continue.

Michael Carroll, reporting on TNMO 2014 for Fierce Wireless picked up on the analogy for one of his reports on the conference.  Link to report , thanks Michael.

There was a quite a lot of debate on the need for and use of backhaul for small cells, this will be explored further no doubt at the upcoming Small Cells World Summit and Backhaul summit at the Excel Centre, Dockland, London.  I will feature on a couple of panel discussions at that conference, debating the Small Cell Backhaul Demand and how to prepare for small cells.

In the next few weeks I will be attending and participating in the Mobile Network Performance Management Conference, Small Cells World Summit and The Next Generation Optical Networking Summit.


The Zafirovski Agenda…… Nortel’s demise continues

After being tweeted by the internal comms team here at Ericsson about the ongoing sale of Nortel’s wireless assets and the online commentary that continues, I was lead to the article by Martin Warwick on .  I am not one for reposting someone else’s articles on my blog and so I encourage you to use the link below and read it yourself. 

The premise that Nortel are selling off assets but trying to retain their most precious patents is a very interesting idea.  From what I have read so far it seems hearsay and rheotric but is there some truth in it……. Full Link

What has happened to Nortel?

Ok so I am here in Montreal, Canada at the moment doing some verification testing with Nortel on some of their optical equipment.   I was last here in 2006 and had a flying visit to the Ottawa campus in 2004 and the places are a shadow of their former self.  It is horrendous to see what apparent & alleged corporate mis-management can do to a once giant of the industry. 

Much the same could be said of Marconi who were “rescued” as such by my current employer Ericsson.  Unfortunately the world is watching as other institutions this time in the finance sector are failing, perhaps also as a result of poor decisions in the past. 

Perhaps there is a glimmer of light for Nortel in the future, their optical portfolio is strong, the technology is sound,  but whether the company is as robust as the technology they are developing and selling is another question. 

I normally refrain from these sorts of posts, in fact recently I have refrained from all posts on my blog! but being here this week and seeing the sea-change in the size and scale of the operation from just 3 years ago is somewhat disturbing. It makes me think, I hope my bosses are being prudent and not taking uncalculated risks with not just their livelihoods but that of thousands of others. 

Perhaps a better sense of financial management is going to be the positive aspect of this Credit Crunch for both corporations and the individual alike.


FTTH – Would you pay?

Read recently in the telecommunications international magazine, an interesting comparison in the differing approaches of BT and France Telecom in approaching Fibre To The Home (FTTH).   

 quote: “The French and British often pride themselves on their differences. Flamboyancy and showmanship favoured by the French; restraint cherished by the British. When it comes to broadband access, the respective incumbents of these two countries are showing similar differences in style”

BT’s argument is that Continue reading “FTTH – Would you pay?”

Interest in HSDPA – 3G

My interest has been sparked recently with the upcoming advent of HSDPA in the 3G networks.  In particular the impact on the transmission architecture that sits behind it.  I have been involved with the backbone or core transmission element of providing a 3G network since it’s inception in the UK and already we are talking about 3.5G, infact not just talking about it, it is here. 

Over at there are a number of articles on all things 3G but this article HSDPA Uptake Hinges on Pricing Strategies  has hit a bit of a cord with me. I think this is very much the croix of the matter.  If it is too expensive that nobody is going to use it.   The comparisions that make to the uptake with broadband I believe is very relevant.  As a consumer myself, the trade off between high speed and the cost to me, is still pertinent.  I would love to have the fastest home broadband out there, but do I need it.  Over the couple of years that I have had broadband market forces have brought the prices down.  For the price of 500K two or three years ago now one can enjoy 2mb or even 8 or 10mb.  Will this be the case with HSDPA aswell.  I imagine so, currently 3G will give 384kbps with HSDPA we are told speeds of up to 14mbps on the air interface will be achievable…