AT&T, Verizon, & most big carriers want the vendor flexibility of software-defined networking, NFV, & open source. Nokia's strategy is to sell everything "end-to-end." In a stunning financial call, Ravi Suri slapped in the face many of his largest customers, 13 times calling for end-to-end. He makes the argument that a single vendor taking care of everything will have better results. That's not unreasonable, but almost the whole industry is going in the opposite direction.

Suri is remarkably candid about how this lets him squeeze customers on price. 

"Our end-to-end portfolio shows its power here, as well, as we are able to ask for offsets for any concessions that we make."

While AT&T's John Donovan is telling investors  he wants the opposite

"More than 55% of our network functions were virtualized at the end of 2017, and we're well on our way to meet or exceed our goal of 75% virtualized by 2020. These and other cost management initiatives have helped drive 13 straight quarters of cost reductions in our technology and infrastructure group."

T-Mobile's $3.5B deal with Nokia implies CTO Neville Ray doesn't share that goal.

Monica Alleven noted in 2016, "T-Mobile mostly mum on SDN/NFV activities." Neville went on to tell Sue Marek, "Modern Core Makes SDN Less Urgent." Ray is right SDN/NFV is over-hyped, but results are real. Vendor lock-in can be very dangerous.

Randall Stephenson was at AT&T when Nokia's predecessor Alcatel thought they could charge an extra $B on U-Verse, claiming AT&T had ordered changes. AT&T countered that the extra work was included in the original deal and the system didn't work without it. U-Verse was two years late and Alcatel was nearly cut out of many $billions in future contract. 

Second sources are a good idea.

dave ask

@analysisbranch for latest updates

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Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error. daveb@dslprime.com

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