NFV spending for the virtual mobile packet core, which includes the Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), will be more than $8 billion by 2021, said ABI Research in its Mobile Packet Core VNFs and PNFs Market Data report.
Telecom operators such as AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, and Telefonica are leading the market toward fully virtualized networks.
BT recently announced its decision to accelerate its investment in dynamic network services by leveraging SDN and NFV technology. The strategy of BT is to be the leading global cloud of clouds services integrator for its customers.
Chet Patel, president of global portfolio & marketing, BT, said: “We are now leveraging our expertise in SDN and NFV technology and using the breadth and depth of our global network infrastructure to enhance further our portfolio of dynamic network services.”
In a recent white paper called Network Slicing for 5G Networks and Services prepared by 5G Americas, Rao Yallapragada, director, Intel said that operators will incorporate some already developed new technologies like Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) into the future 5G network – they are needed to enable the many network slices necessary to meet the requirements of the many 5G use cases.
Cisco in its Cisco Global Cloud Index (2015-2020)report said that nearly 60 percent of global hyperscale data centers are expected to deploy SDN/NFV solutions over the next five years. By 2020, 44 percent of traffic within data centers will be supported by SDN/NFV platforms (up from 23 percent in 2015) as operators strive for greater efficiencies.
The development of network function virtualization (NFV) technologies comes as a relief to many operators looking for economical and flexible network expanding approaches while they plan for next-generation network applications and deployments.
“The extended network footprint supports a much larger number of users and businesses than ever before. This necessitates a giant leap into the virtualized core market to accommodate current and future network operations cost effectively,” said Ahmed Ali, senior analyst at ABI Research.
The vEPC will support business strategies for emerging IoT applications and help handle the significant amount of mobile traffic from operators’ vertical market partners.
Given how essential vEPC functions will be to the connected world, the demand for them will continue to increase, creating the largest segment of the core market, which grows at a CAGR of 54 percent.
Telecom operators in developing markets will take advantage of matured virtualized core elements to accelerate their 4G rollouts and compensate for slower network expansions. Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are the two leading telecom operators with significant 4G presence in India.
The rising adoption of VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling solutions also fuels the need for a virtual IMS and core network functions that deliver real-time communications services for consumer and business users over any access network and for any device type.
ABI Research said the need for a virtual IMS will help to establish a growing market that overtakes the physical mobile core function options in several regions over the next few years.