Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | April 29, 2015 |


Large Enterprise as Carrier

Large Enterprise as Carrier Alcatel-Lucent's proposal that a large enterprise cloud could become an MVNO, using its recently announced Rapport platform, is an intriguing idea.

Alcatel-Lucent's proposal that a large enterprise cloud could become an MVNO, using its recently announced Rapport platform, is an intriguing idea.

Ever since the BYOD/consumerization revolution took hold, enterprises have struggled to do more than simply cope with their users' desire to be mobile on their terms. We've seen various products and approaches, from single number-reach to UC clients, none of which has proved satisfactory. But Alcatel-Lucent's recently announced Rapport cloud-based platform for large-enterprise communications could prove interesting.

Essentially, ALU is proposing that a large enterprise could, itself, become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), wholesale cellular capacity from carriers, and then use the Rapport platform as the single, cloud-based brains of an enterprise communications system. From that system the enterprise could offer truly native service to any enterprise user on any device, connecting over any network -- corporate WAN or wired LAN, Internet, corporate WiFi, or cellular.

It's not surprising that ALU, the parent company that sold off Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise last year, would propose this model, or that other enterprise vendors wouldn't. The Rapport platform is based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem platform that ALU has been selling to carriers for years now, so it's only natural that when ALU looks at a very large enterprise, it sees something that looks an awful lot like a carrier.

The enterprise communications platform vendors (including those like Cisco that have a carrier business) sell specialized platforms for the enterprise. That's the right model for the vast majority of the enterprise market. But the largest enterprises are the business ALU is going after with the Rapport platform.

The enterprise MVNO model -- buying bulk network capacity instead of bulk minutes/data volumes -- seems like an intriguing idea to me. Obviously, this would require a new set of expertise to be either brought on or acquired by existing leaders in the large enterprise's communications organization. But it's not as challenging as actually being a true MVNO; you don't have to run your enterprise's cellular-access operation at a profit, the way an MVNO that's in business as a service provider does. You don't even have to advertise or market yourself. But you do have to know what you're doing.

Maybe I'm just looking for something more enterprise-focused to happen in the cellular world. I've long believed that the cellular carriers should roll out more comprehensive business services, "Cellular Centrex," as we used to call it. They've shown little interest in pursuing such a business, given the dominance of the consumer market -- and given the willingness of business people to purchase cellular services on the consumer model.

So perhaps it's time for large enterprises to take matters into their own hands. Google clearly is re-thinking the concept of the MVNO, with its Google Fi service, which refines the MVNO model and optimizes it for the needs of real customers. It also, as the name suggests, aims to give users a more seamless fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) experience, which the ALU enterprise MVNO model is all about.

I don't think the carriers are going to change their approach anytime soon. I've never believed it when I've heard carrier execs say that they don't want to be bit-haulers. They make a ton of money as bit-haulers, they know bit hauling, they're reasonably good at it, and they have effectively a duopoly in it. Why get down in the mud and scramble for profits off 99-cent downloads? They're already in a business where the barriers to entry are essentially insurmountable.

They're in the business of selling wireless bandwidth. Enterprises are in the business of buying that bandwidth and providing it as a service to their users. It makes the large-enterprise-as-an-MVNO model an intriguing idea, if nothing else.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.