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Telecom Review hosted yet another successful virtual panel which focused on the ‘Role of cloud in accelerating business’. The panel was attended by hundreds of viewers to get the latest and greatest in industry trends and insights from a diverse group of panelists, spanning across the global telecoms industry.

The panel was moderated by Telecom Review’s very own founder, Toni Eid. The panelists of this discussion included: Haithem Al Faraj, SVP of Technology and Operations, stc; Hatem Bamatraf, CTO, Etisalat; Omar Akar, VP and Managing Director of Cloud and AI Business Group in the Middle East, Huawei; George Jaber, VP Wholesale Business Development and Bid management, at ITC KSA; and Annette L. Geuther, VP Market Development at Colt Technology Services.

This part of the discussion focused on global and regional cloud adoption, as well as the importance of network and business readiness in this space.

Al Faraj, “stc started its cloud adoption and migration journey back in 2018, when we built our decoupled cloud environments and were able to enforce our strategy to migrate our existing telecom network functions onto the cloud.”

“Today, we are able to have around 60% of our network functions already migrated to the cloud and have managed to reach around 30% efficiency and a massive reduction in our time to market. Reducing network functions on the cloud, compared to legacy infrastructure, has helped us mitigate a lot of security issues and helped us achieve lots of resilience and stability to the environments that we have developed on the cloud,” he added.

Geuther then stated: “There is a significant aspect which is the pool effect from some of the mandatory software upgrades in applications. For example, the move from SAP to SAP Hanna is a cloud based system. They have strongly recommended to migrate workloads into the cloud and this is a significant aspect in Europe that is driving cloud adoption. There are now more applications which are being hosted in the cloud. We see that there is an interest in edge use cases here in Europe but I think we can all agree that we are still trying to identify the real killer use case. We talk a lot about latency-sensitive applications which create a balance in the workload, in terms of what needs to be done locally or in the cloud, but we have not necessarily seen those applications already create an increase in demand for cloud.”

Akar stated, “When we look at the priority, it is to accelerate digital transformation. For service providers, digital transformation resembles the human body. The peripherals are the intelligent edge and devices. The arms and legs are 5G, WiFi 6 and other technologies that provide connectivity. The core is the cloud, while the brain is AI and analytics. These are the key pillars that are the top priority for enterprises nowadays.”

Jaber said, “We're seeing big cloud players now in the region like Oracle, SAP, AWS and others. The question is about the network, it's very crucial; this is driving the demand for international connectivity.”

Bamatraf, “We don't have a fully-fledged telco that built a network over a cloud, so there is not much references. The maturity of the network function to sit on the cloud, we still have some challenges with the vendors.”

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