Mobile Packet Data Core Spend Totals US$ 42 Billion through 2021; NFV Accounts for Half

Oyster Bay, New York - 09 Jun 2016

ABI Research sees the NFV-based mobile packet data core ramping up this year and taking in more than half of the US$ 42 billion in packet data core spending through the end of 2021. 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,” says Joe Hoffman, Managing Director and Vice President 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, 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.

The firm therefore anticipates that infrastructure vendors 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. 

“Infrastructure vendors have before them an opportunity to help service providers with the transformation to the virtualized network of tomorrow,” concludes Hoffman. “This will probably 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.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s Mobile Gateways. This report is part of the company’s Future Networks sector, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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