Telco edge infrastructure to drive market for pre-fab data centers to $4.3B by 2023

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Vertiv and Omdia have released a new report on the effects of the shift to edge computing for telecom operators and the best tactics and strategies for capitalizing on edge growth.

In “Telcos and edge computing: opportunity, threat or distraction?”, Omdia states that mobile and wireline operators can build a platform for the development of edge services while saving on costs by combining existing cell tower networks with central offices and aggregation points such as edge data centres.

The report specifically addresses the role prefabricated modular data centres (PFM) will likely play in helping telecoms operators deliver future edge infrastructure. The PFM market is forecast to grow from $1.2 billion in 2018 to $4.3 billion in 2023 driven by telcos and the growth of edge computing, as well as overall growth by cloud service providers.

“The growth at the edge opens opportunities for telecom providers to develop new services related to 5G, IoT and other innovative technologies,” says Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer of Vertiv. “Operators will need partners with international reach, as well as a breadth of solutions and services, to support them on their edge journey.”

The Omdia report also reveals that edge growth should open up new areas of competition with 36 percent of those surveyed believe network operators will be most important in the creation of new revenue services from edge. Application developers and public cloud providers are also seen as key edge players.

“Communications service providers believe they see a clear opportunity in the emerging edge computing market, but other potential players including public cloud providers and over-the-top content players, are equally attracted by the prospect of delivering the edge,” explains the report’s author Julian Bright, Omdia senior telecoms analyst.

Alongside rapid deployment, energy efficiency is also a key concern for network operators. In a recently published update to a 2019 survey commissioned by Vertiv, 451 Research identified that the energy costs associated with edge and 5G connectivity remain a serious concern for operators.

“Energy consumption is a major concern for 5G network owners as it constitutes between 20-40% of network OPEX,” said Brian Partridge, vice president, 451 Research. “Analysis conducted by Vertiv estimates 5G will likely increase total network energy consumption of 150-170% by 2026. The industry desperately needs energy efficient 5G solutions, especially for power-hungry tech like MIMO antennas, and data centre specific countermeasures.”

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