Telecom Product Lifecycle – End of Maintenance – End of Support – End of Life

Network planning teams or Engineering Teams in Telecom companies are responsible for Planning and Designing the Networks. It is their job to select new products or upgrade existing deployed equipment in the Network. Telecom equipment is generally very expensive and the planning engineers must be very careful when selecting a product to meet their needs. One major aspect which engineers generally forget or not totally aware of is the Product Life-cycle, and it has also been observed that Vendors also do not inform customers or operators about the product life cycle if not asked specifically.

Point to note is that generally all Telecom products have a life cycle. A product has certain life and it goes through certain upgrade paths before it is declared “End of Life” or out of support. So when you are selecting any product for the Telecom Network make sure the product should at least have 5 to 10 years of life before its vendor discontinues its support. It’s because of the huge cost involved in buying the products. Telecom business plans are majorly impacted by the cost of the equipment used in the Network. So if the planning teams mistakenly select a product which is going to be end of life soon, then of course the company will have to replace the product soon, which will definitely affect the overall Business Plan.

Vendors plan upgrade paths in steps to earn more money and do not provide some features at once. You will have to purchase upgrades i.e. software and hardware both in steps, and planning engineers must be fully aware of these steps which are generally available in Product Road Map documents. If vendors do not provide the information then please ask them to provide in detail so that you properly and cost effectively plan your network life cycle.

Generally vendors do not give visibility of the product roadmaps more than 2 to 3 years ahead. You need to insist on getting roadmaps for next 5 to 10 years.

Don’t forget that you will not get any software or hardware support from the vendors when the product has passed End of Support Dates and there are different solutions available to the problem when your equipment is End of Life. You can ask the vendors for:-

* Extended support
* Buy some spare equipment and run the equipment yourself without support, it’s a bit risky
* Buy support from some third party

Anyhow you will have to purchase new products once they have passed End of Life dates and it has major cost impact on the business plans which must be carefully evaluated and planned.