Mobile operator cloud services are being upstaged by OTT service-platform vendors like Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com and Microsoft but these carriers can respond to such challenges and recapture value with real-time services, always connected devices and connectivity management.

Research firm Strategy Analytics has identified three key areas (along with vendors) where mobile operators can capture value in cloud networks:

>> Integrate real-time, two-way or multi-party interaction, including voice, video and data, with web data sessions, content sharing and social networking. Solutions providers could include Metaswitch, Mavenir, Radisys and Taqua.
 
>> Offer such ‘always connected’ devices as cloud phones and terminals that derive superior functionality primarily from the network. These “white label” OEM cloud phones and terminals are differentiated by network branded services and content. Solutions providers could include Nokia and Huawei.

>> Create Software Defined Networks (SDNs) and virtualized connectivity. Cloud services virtualized servers and now operators can virtualize network resources. Solutions providers could include Alcatel-Lucent and ConteXtream.

“Mobile operators should seize the opportunity to enhance cloud-based services with open APIs and flexible, scalable platforms in the network to complement as well as compete with innovative, fast-moving OTT players,” says Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director/Mobile Broadband Opportunities.

Adds Sue Rudd, director/Service Provider Analysis, “All three opportunities are differentiated by mobile the operator’s unique networking knowledge. ‘Cloud phones’ also lower device component costs and processing requirements, exploit coming HTML5 and deliver superior ‘perceived functionality’ by making a ‘smart network’ in place of a ‘smart phone.’”

She continues, “By virtualizing network resources, operators can create a ‘Network as a Service (NaaS)’ option to attract premier developers. Mobile operators can leverage these new service models to capture value from the cloud.”

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