Published   Wireless Watch

MNOs look to MEC to deliver 5G class apps

Edge Computing Forecast to 2025

“We expect the first at scale edge compute roll-outs in 2019 and see this accelerating to 2022, when it will hit peak activity”

Edge compute is one of the biggest topics in the mobile telecoms world as operators approach deployment of 5G.

Mobile operators need to be chasing MEC (Multi-Access or Mobile Edge Compute) as much as they are 5G. Many 5G revenues streams will rely on MEC being in place. Operators who fail to adopt an early strategy for Edge will struggle.

Edge revenues will start slowly next year, but accelerate rapidly and by 2025, 45% of MNO central offices will also host edge nodes, together with 18% of macrosites and 15% of outdoor microcells or small cells. This forecast demonstrates that if some form of MEC is not adopted soon then there is little hope that MNOs will be able to cope with video and IoT data requirements which customers are expecting from the new 5G era.

The installed base of indoor small cell/edge node units will have reached over 1.8m worldwide, up from 36,000 in 2019, a CAGR of 92%. The installed base of central offices with edge nodes will grow at a CAGR of 57%, all of which will happen by 2025. The biggest growth will be in MEC co-located with indoor small cells. These cells will frequently be combined with compute, storage and analytics capabilities to support smart enterprise and smart home services.

This report not only shows how central MEC is to the thinking of mobile operators, but it explains the choices within MEC, and shows which operators are embracing which MEC architectures, and why. It points to the magnitude of savings which are possible in signaling offload and fronthaul and backhaul.

The report walks the reader through the key barriers to deployment, whether to build or partner, and we see pushback against webscale partners, with operators not wanting to become too dependent upon their current cloud offerings.

Who should buy this report?

Strategic and network planners, MNO management and their vendors, will all benefit from this report, giving them the building blocks to plan new revenues or set a timeline for entering MEC.

Many operators will be looking to hitch their wagon to the most successful architecture for MEC, and favorites are already beginning to emerge. Vendors who get misaligned behind the wrong initiatives will struggle and need to buy this report. The report discusses ETSI’s Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC), Cisco’s OpenFog, CORD from the Open Network Foundation, the Facebook-inspired Telecoms Infra Project (TIP) and AT&T’s Akraino open source project and other approaches.

Author Gabriel states there will be a wide variety of engagement around Edge and the potential for partnering, cost sharing and risk sharing for the shrewd operators. She singles out applications which require very low latency, strong levels of security or local control of data, or deep personalization – all of which indicate a preference for MEC architectures.

For more information contact:

Chloe Spring (Marketing Manager): [email protected]

Office Phone: +44 (0)1179 257019

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  1. Executive Summary
  2. Edge compute poses difficult decisions for MNOs
  3. Edge compute architectures
  4. Where is the edge?
  5. Some operators are setting the early pace
  6. Diversity of approach will drive deployments, but also fragmentation
    1. Forecasts and key barriers
  7. Build or partner?
  8. Cloud providers – partners or rivals?
  9. Targeted edge compute use cases for MNOs
  10. Two contrasting use case examples
    1. Content delivery networks
    2. The enterprise sub-net
  11. Non-MNO deployers of enterprise and IoT edge node
  12. Conclusion

Tables & Graphs
Figure 1. The MEC server building blocks. Source: ETSI white paper
Figure 2. If you plan to support edge computing, which architecture would you favor? (tick all that apply)
Figure 3. Various locations for the edge. Source: Disruptive Analysis
Figure 4. A model for fog computing, supporting different levels of cloud dis-
persal and latency
Figure 5. Sample use cases to be supported by each edge location approach
Figure 6. Number of edge compute nodes installed in MNO networks
Figure 7. MNOs’ expectations of the timing for at-scale edge compute deploy-
ment in their networks
Figure 8. Barriers to edge deployment – percentage of MNOs identifying each
factor as the primary barrier to their adoption of edge compute
Figure 9. The chief benefits of a self-build approach to edge nodes, and of a
third party approach. Top six benefits of each as selected by the operator sur-
Figure 10. Do you expect to deploy your own edge nodes or use third party infrastructure?
Figure 11. Main deployers of connected edge compute nodes, and their key strengths and weaknesses
Figure 12. Percentage of MNOs who expect to be offering edge cloud facilities directly to customers, to support MVNOs, or on an as-a-service basis (multiple
options can be selected)
Figure 13. Of those planning to support edge computing, the most important use case categories before 2023 (up to 3 could be selected).
Figure 14. What single use case would you expect to be the primary use case to
drive edge computing in year 1 of deployment, and in year 4?
Figure 15. A CDN and MEC server in a combined deployment
Figure 16. Enterprise/vertical small cell installed base, by operator type de-
ploying or managing
Figure 17. Small cells collocated with edge nodes by ownership – indoor
Figure 18. Small cells collocated with edge nodes by ownership – outdoor
Figure 19. MEC services revenues 2019-2023 by platform and app suppliers