Telecoms NFV investment plan revealed by IHS

Michael Howard, senior research director Carrier Networks, IHS Markit, says most telecom service providers will deploy network functions virtualization (NFV) by 2017.

100 percent of telecom service providers participating in the IHS Markit NFV strategies survey say they will deploy NFV at some point. 81 percent telecom network operators are expecting to make investment in NFV by 2017.

59 percent of telecom network operators have deployed or will deploy NFV this year.

Integrating NFV into existing networks is an issue for a majority of survey respondents, as is the lack of carrier-grade products.

IHS Markit said telecom service providers are moving toward NFV. Carriers believe that NFV and its software-defined networking (SDN) companion are a fundamental change in telecom network architecture.

Automation, more agile services, more revenue, operational efficiency and Capex savings are the main benefits from NFV.

Many carriers in 2016 are moving from their NFV proof-of-concept (PoC) tests and lab investigations and evaluations to working with vendors that are developing and productizing the software, which is being deployed commercially.

The majority of early NFV deployments in the next year will be for business virtualized enterprise customer premises equipment (vE-CPE), also known as vBranch or enterprise vCPE. Business vE-CPE can assist with revenue generation because it allows telecom operators to replace physical CPEs with software so they can quickly innovate and launch new services.

The IHS Markit report said the telecom industry is in the early stages of a transition to SDN and NFV architected networks. Carriers will learn that some avenues are not as fruitful as expected, and telecom equipment manufacturers and software suppliers may well invent new approaches that open up newfound applications.