An increasing number of telcos are looking to the public cloud for innovation and more cost-efficient delivery of next‑generations networks.

While experts at ABI Research acknowledge that the exact role public cloud will play in telecoms is still to be defined, they see a firm trend emerging of operators migrating more on-prem workloads, including OSS, to public cloud.

Migrating critical OSS applications to the public cloud was once thought unthinkable, of course, but this is no longer the case. The entire SunVizion OSS package, for example, comprising inventory of physical and logical resources and service order management, can be made available on AWS.

According to a report published by ABI Research last year – Public Cloud Platforms in Telecoms – projects revenues from telco cloud to increase from $8.7 billion in 2020 to $29.3 billion in 2025. It translates into a healthy 27% CAGR over the forecast period.


The market research firm thinks the big drivers for cloud infrastructure investment will include VNFs (virtual network functions), MANO (management and network orchestration) and cloud-native functions.

By ABI Research’s reckoning, the key markets for public telco cloud by 2025 will be North America ($10 billion), Asia-Pacific ($9.1 billion) and Europe ($8.2 billion).


New ways of thinking

By putting more infrastructure into the public cloud, telcos need different skillsets than ones possessed by traditional network engineers. If operators are to maintain and make available cloud-based next-generation networks, says ABI Research, they need to think “completely differently” if they are to solve key challenges.


Those challenges not only  include finding new sources of income but making sure O&M costs don’t spiral out of control as networks become increasingly complex. Automation in the provisioning and maintenance of services is therefore vital in lowering costs (and eliminating expensive human error).


Along with low cost of ownership, ABI Research says that some of the key factors driving the adoption of cloud computing power in telecoms is little or no deployment risk, increased business flexibility and faster-paced innovation. Convenient and relatively inexpensive access to computing resources, adds the market research firm, is another main reason why an increasing number of network equipment suppliers and telcos now use the public cloud.


Don Alusha, a senior Analyst at ABI Research, makes the argument that public cloud adoption has allowed many Tier 1 operators to diversify into ICT services. AT&T, Telefonica Tech, Verizon and Vodafone are just some of the operators that use the public cloud to create new value outside of their historical (consumer) markets. Moreover, operators can more easily adopt a multi-vendor approach in the public cloud and avoid vendor lock-ins.


The telco public cloud is gaining momentum and is here to stay.