Merry Christmas to all! It's almost that time of year again for some wild-assed guesses... err I mean predictions about 2017. But first we need to check the report card on last year's forecasts for how 2017 would turn out. Or do we? It's the Trump era now, perhaps I can just declare my triumph? Nah, I guess not. How did I really do?
- Sprint and T-Mobile USA will announce another merger attempt. Well, mostly. They announced they were working on one, and we know those talks got far advanced. But they never followed through with the actual deal, coming up short on minor things like who pays what and who owns it afterwards.
- Net Neutrality will face a serious, early challenge. Indeed, net neutrality is now no longer a thing in the US regulatory regime. I thought they might have done it even faster, but for the FCC doing anything in less than a year is a sprint.
- SDWAN will drive the enterprise market. Yes, the revenues are starting to flow and implementations of the new tech is on the tip of everyone's tongue now. It's hard to tell just how much it's really affecting the top and bottom lines, but it's definitely moving into the mainstream.
- Two of the following six network operators will be bought this year. Hurrah, I got exactly two: Lumos was bought by EQT and Wilcon was purchased by Crown Castle. Nobody was biting at Colt, FiberLight, Cogent, or DQE though.
- Despite the above, US fiber consolidation will slow. The bigger buyers this year will be Zayo, Lightower, Uniti Fiber, Crown Castle, and Comcast. Well, it was in fact slower but there was still a fair amount of activity. Uniti Fiber and Crown Castle were indeed big buyers, and Zayo wasn't completely silent although they didn't really make any big moves this year, but Comcast didn't make any moves and Lightower was on the other side of the table.
- Zayo will make a major European move. Nope, didn't happen. Zayo made moves in Europe, but they were mostly organic.
- NFV's buzz will give way to concrete implementations, but it will also face a dose of reality. Hmmm, this one was kind of a wishy-washy horoscope-like prediction that I could spin to fit anything that happened this year. NFV is definitely bigger now than it was, and concrete implementations are cropping up. One could argue that the details of those implementations are taking longer to work out than the hype suggested, and the bandwagon isn't quite as full and happy as it could have been. But one could also argue that there have been no major hiccups, and that the revolution NFV is bringing is turning out to be mostly behind the scenes in terms of the upgraded infrastructure operators are putting into place.
All in all, I think I was looking in mostly the right directions. A few specific predictions were on the money or at least near the target - even if they weren't exactly hard to predict. Only one specific forecast was completely wrong. A few more general predictions were at least on topic, although they could have been easier to pin down. I'll try to do better later this week for my 2018 predictions.
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