Spirent Communications has closed more than 100 5G-related deals during 2019. The surge in 5G business is being driven by accelerated deployment timetables that require complex testing and the need to incorporate assurance into new, next-gen networks for guaranteed quality. Spirent is now engaged in more than 150 global 5G initiatives with a broad mix of operators, device makers, network equipment manufacturers, academic institutions, government and cloud providers.
More than half of Spirent’s 5G business is taking place in the Asia-Pacific region as countries like South Korea gain traction with customised offerings tailored to data-hungry subscribers consuming high-bandwidth content such as augmented reality and virtual reality. In China, the company is supporting nationwide efforts to prepare the transport network and data centre architecture for mass market deployments. About one-third of Spirent’s 5G deals are in the Americas, with the remainder across Europe. 5G transport, 5G core and 5G RAN projects comprise the majority of deals as operators pursue a range of network rollout strategies.
Commenting on the development, Steve Douglas, Spirent head of 5G, said, “If you took the industry’s pulse early last year, all eyes were on 2020 for mass movement in 5G, but those timetables have been turned on their heads as operators navigate an expanding set of market dynamics that demand speed and scale.”
From staking out major service differentiation and getting ahead of early price wars, to urgently wanting to explore the market opportunity for new offerings, operators that engage Spirent view 5G as a multi-pronged answer to a range of competitive challenges on the horizon. Smaller operators have taken note and are exploring hybrid approaches that see implementation of a 5G core while continuing to operate 4G radios. A major deal driver for Spirent has been the need to test transport networks for high capacities as global markets eye more near-term commercial deployments.
Advancements in 5G are driving aligned initiatives as well. Spirent is seeing requests for the first real stress testing of edge clouds as commercial deployments are anticipated for 2020. The company is also managing requirements for video and quality of service testing in a world where content is overwhelmingly not optimised for 5G networks. This requires the creation of optimised testing that can be hosted and tested as operators eye the delivery of commercial video service as a future market brimming with opportunity.
Further, Douglas added, “For as much traction as we’re seeing, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. 5G brings with it, as we expected, a host of opportunities and our focus is on staying several steps ahead with the testing, assurance and security solutions that help our customers confidently go to market at scale.”