The telecom space continues to embrace network virtualization technologies, including those based on software-defined networking, network functions virtualization and cloud.
A recent report from Technology Business Research predicts the NFV and SDN market will hit $158 billion by 2021, boosted by early adopters such as AT&T beginning to ramp investments into the NFV and SDN ecosystems. The report claims the 116% compound annual growth rate will be supported by the redistribution of legacy infrastructure capital expense as operators implement virtualized environments and gradually decommission legacy infrastructure platforms.
TBR noted operators could see some external operating expense tied to vendors for maintenance and managed services to “support, integrate and operate software-mediated environments.”
Much of these early moves towards NFV and SDN have indeed been led by a number of larger operators, including AT&T, Verizon Communications, Telefonica, NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile and SK Telecom. However, a number of slightly smaller carriers are also beginning to ramp their interest in virtualization platforms.
One of those is Sprint, which sees the need for NFV and SDN in support of its ongoing moves towards the launch and development of “5G” technology. The carrier recently partnered with the Copa América Centenario tournament held in various cities across the country to highlight its work in terms of 5G technology. Those trials included work in Santa Clara, California, and Philadelphia.
Sprint earlier this year noted one of its concerns in terms of NFV and SDN was the maturity of the ecosystem, with the carrier stating that while it’s looking at the technology, the ability to scale is key before it looks towards deployment.
“We are looking at it with NFV and SDN,” said Jay Bluhm, VP of network planning at Sprint, during a keynote panel at this year’s Competitive Carriers Association Mobile Carriers Show. “The real issue is scaling the network to meet demand. Whether its NFV or SDN, our technology principles are to scale, which require different a lot of different implementation models.”
For this week’s featured interview, we spoke with Günther Ottendorfer, COO of Technology at Sprint, to discuss the carrier’s recent 5G technology testing and deployment plans and how it has begun to increase its attention on virtualization platforms in support of those plans.
Make sure to check us out again next week when we are scheduled to speak with Heather Kirksey, director of OPNFV to recap the organization’s recent OPNFV World event.