The Imperative of MSO Future Wireless (2019)

By Drew Davis, Cox Communications; Anish Kelkar, Bell Labs Consulting

The traditional MSO business is facing unprecedented competitive threats resulting in customer churn, revenue decline and margin erosion. Telephone companies (Telcos) are deploying 5G services which they expect will provide a consumer experience comparable to the current cable experience. Over-the-top (OTT) players threaten to convert the MSO service to a connectivity play and skim the cream off the top by delivering high margin consumer and enterprise services. We already see this competition show up in the landscape in all segments such as:


  • 5G Home broadband at 300Mbps
  • NFL/Venues immersive experience
  • Live TV streaming services


  • Fixed 5G for primary/secondary connection
  • 5G enabled eHealth for hospitals
  • 5G for education and training

Public sector

  • 5G First Responder –Public Safety
  • Smart City applications

To reverse the revenue and margin declines, MSOs are planning new wireless services. These services improve competitive positioning of current consumer and enterprise products and add net new revenue through new product offerings.

However, wireless is a new business for MSOs, who often lack adequate resources to accelerate its deployment. Strategy teams are experimenting with many different business models and use cases, which result in product churn and indeterminate timelines of the new portfolio. With these challenges, it is important for MSOs to identify a low risk foundational architecture to learn, experiment and become technically and operationally ready to launch new wireless services aligned with market needs.

In this paper, we will discuss the future architecture which will support new wireless services. We will develop a foundational architecture common to most services, and which enables experimentation and readiness development in short order. We demonstrate that the foundational architecture needs 20-30% CAPEX investments of a service architecture and allows MSOs to prepare for a vast number of services.

Adopting this approach, MSOs will be able to counter the lack of clarity of the future wireless imperative and reduce product development cycles through an investment protected architecture.

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