Telco 5G, What You Need to Know

Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash

Telco and 5G has been taking main stage for some time now. Pat Gelsinger said, “5G is the single biggest tech investment we will see in our lifetime.” What does this mean for the VMUG member new and old? 5G matters to all technologists, and I’m going to share 5 reasons why.

Carrier Improvements

Carriers have traditionally provided connectivity. That model is not sustainable, and carriers need to do more. Technology is driving carriers to continue to provide higher bandwidth and better coverage, but also more applications to manage edge and the IoT. The most efficient way to deliver these apps is through virtualization and more specifically, Kubernetes.


VMware has a strong history in virtualization and is used by most, if not all Fortune 500 companies. VMware can handle extremely large virtualization deployments. Telco’s need a software partner who can handle their large workloads and VMware is in position to be that partner. Major wins such as Dish and Samsung tells us the carriers like what VMware is doing. Also, they understand that in order to stay competitive and increase revenue, virtualization is a move they must make. For some carriers it will be virtualize or die.


VMware stack is built off vSphere. Because VMUG members know vSphere, this could be a career path for some looking to move to 5G-specific roles. As workloads move to the cloud, traditional rack and stack jobs consolidated to cloud providers. This will be similar in the telco industry, the vSphere or vCF job can be transitioned to a CNF (Cloud-native Network Function) or NFV (Network Function Virtualization) role. The ~300 carriers will be looking for that skillset. 


To take advantage of potential job role changes, members need to add to their vSphere skillset and this continues to be focused on Kubernetes. Learn how to manage Kubernetes with Tanzu, learn container networking, get familiar with ML/AI. This jump to telco will not be an easy one, but if you are interested, it could be a career defining moment for you.

Company-Specific 5G Networks

With entry cost being low, and a familiarity with the virtualization platform, companies can deploy their own 5G networks. Industries like power, mining and manufacturing are a few who may consider this. 5G could replace Wi-Fi at large campus environments. Edge applications need the connectivity and speed that 5G can bring.

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There is opportunity for many VMUG members in exploring 5G telco upgrades and job changes. The industry is the largest non-virtualized industry, and they must reinvent themselves to stay alive. Much of their journey ahead has already been blazed by VMUG members. If you are looking for a career change, consider building on your virtualization experience and skillset and help the telco industry as they begin their journey.

A thank you to Dharma Rajan for his insight and contributing to this blog. More on this topic can be found here.



  1. Great insights Brad. People interested in the telco technology shift are encouraged to join the telco vmug.

    1. Thanks Nigel! Glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, I encourage anyone interested in Telco to join the VMUG Telco community!


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