data centerMobile networks making use of network functions virtualization (NFV) will garner more than half of the money invested in packet data core technology by 2021, according to a packet data core investment forecast from ABI Research. The industry will spend $42 billion on NFV by 2021, ABI said. The packet data core investment forecast can be found in the ABI Research’s Mobile Gateways report.

Growing use of NFV adds momentum to the trend whereby telecom and IT networks are converging on a common set of digital technologies, ABI points out in a press release.

Use of NFV that runs on commercial IT equipment will rise steadily in the packet cores for both 3G and 4G mobile networks in coming years, according to ABI Research Managing Director Joe Hoffman.

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Packet Data Core Investment Forecast
Mobile network operators will be challenged to manage transitions to virtualized telecom networks as NFV projects come to fruition in coming months, ABI notes. The market research company expects carriers will move from initially relying on outside infrastructure vendors to rely on in-house resources to carry out NFV systems integration.

¨As the initial LTE network build-outs wind down, increasing traffic and subscriptions place growing demands on the packet data core,” Hoffman was quoted as saying. ¨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.”

Third-party vendors will shift their focus from NFV systems integration to offering more professional service offerings as this occurs, according to ABI. They will also raise the profile of their managed service offerings so as to offer carriers the opportunity to focus their own resources on other key aspects of managing the transition to virtualization.

¨Infrastructure vendors have before them an opportunity to help service providers with the transformation to the virtualized network of tomorrow,” Hoffman elaborated. “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.”

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