Deutsche Telekom has partnered with Facebook in the Telecoms Infrastructure Project to bring technology out of the Stone Age, its VP for Aggregation, Transport, IP has claimed.
During his presentation at the SDN NFV World event Axel Clauberg described TIP, which has the grandiose goal of reinventing network infrastructure, as "one of the most important projects in the telecoms industry today".
He said the project was needed as there was a lack of solutions to deal with the exponential traffic growth across the mobile industry. He said: "We need more radical approaches to deliver capital efficiency."
Despite the presence of Nokia among its members, Clauberg said the launch of the project begged the question of whether the big vendors were doing enough to meet operators' needs. He said: "We have lots of great partnerships in place with vendors but we need to come up with more disruptive approaches to cope with exponential data growth. Anything that helps us to do that will be useful."
The project is split into three groups dealing with access, backhaul and core and management technologies, with sub-projects within that. He said Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica would be co-chairing a forthcoming group exploring how artificial intelligence can be used to manage networks, although he gave little detail beyond that.
Last month, the Germany-based operator announced it was co-chairing a new mmWave Group with Facebook that aims to build hardware and software for connectivity in the 60GHz spectrum band.
While the project has amassed some 450 members in the 18 months since launch, Clauberg said 80 percent of those were in "monitoring mode". He added: "I think it's critical to get everybody engaged."
He was pains to stress that it was wrong to describe TIP as a Facebook initiative, even though the social network was the company that announced it at Mobile World Congress in 2016 and has dominated its news since.
However, he said the project was a must to kick telcos forward towards the 5G era. He said: "Sometimes when I'm in a nasty mood I compare the tools and products of the telecoms industry to those of the Stone Age."
He added: "We as telcos are known to be difficult. We're difficult customers. We have to change that or we won't see real disruptive innovation."