NFV-based mobile packet data core spending to surge

LTE network access
NFV-based mobile packet data core is taking in more than half of the $42 billion in packet data core spending through the end of 2021, said ABI Research.

The mobile networks are heading toward an IT and telecom convergence, and the entire packet core for 3G and 4G will increasingly turn to NFV virtualization and running on commercial IT gear.

“As the initial LTE network build-outs wind down, increasing traffic and subscriptions place growing demands on the packet data core,” said Joe Hoffman, managing director at ABI Research. “Network spend in this market will show a steady uptake. But as NFV virtualization gains ground, it will eventually drive an overall spend reduction as operators get conversant with network virtualization.”

Given swift growth of the NFV packet data core, telecom network operators will face the challenge of managing the transition to virtualized telecom networks in the months ahead. While they will continue to rely on primary infrastructure vendors to provide total system integration, ABI Research expects this to change once operators master this technology shift.

Infrastructure vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, among others, will increase their professional service offerings to assist with this transformation, as well as managed service offerings to allow operators to focus on the other aspects of their business transformation brought on by virtualization.

Telecom infrastructure vendors have opportunity to help service providers with the transformation to the virtualized network of tomorrow. This will be through the form of professional and managed services for the next few years. Operators can start small, with virtualization of packet core, IMS and VoLTE, or the Gi-LAN in select markets, and grow as they learn.


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