This blog was authored by Greg Walsh, Senior Marketing Manager at Cisco Mobile Business Group
As a society, the critical role of mobile broadband in our lives continues to test new levels every day. While still falling short of Abraham Maslow’s definition of the six human needs for survival (air, water, food, sleep, clothing, and shelter), there are plenty of people that would gladly advocate for mobile broadband (MBB) as the seventh basic need. Let’s face it—for better or for worse, we rely on our mobile devices a lot, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. According to a September 2017 survey by Asurion, the average person checks their mobile device every 12 minutes. Even after earmarking eight hours of our day for device-free sleep, that’s still 80 times per day! No wonder ‘smartphone thumb’ has become a real and ever-increasing affliction!
Since the inception of data capabilities in the mobile network, the mobile packet core has been the proverbial linchpin that makes it all happen. Sure, the mobile network needs cellular towers and associated equipment to make it go, but it’s the mobile packet core is the brains of it all—maintaining your mobile connection when you’re on the go and serving as your gateway to the digital world. Cisco’s mobile packet core solution has played a big part in making this happen—from the early days of the WAP browser on feature phones to today where we can stream a live soccer match on our iPhone while travelling down the freeway at 75 mph (theoretically, of course). From 2G to 3G to 4G LTE to the promise of 5G, Cisco has been a steadfast partner to the world’s largest and most advanced mobile networks for mobile packet core.
During this period of time, the game has changed significantly. Early on, mobile network operators build their packet cores with purpose-built custom hardware solutions. Cisco addressed those needs with our ASR 5000 Series. More recently, customers have developed a taste for virtualized solutions, where the various mobile packet core functions operate as software-based virtual network functions (VNF) on off-the-shelf server platforms. Cisco again met those needs with our Ultra Services Platform, a software-based mobile data solution that addresses mobile packet core requirements, as well as other capabilities such as policy management. In the near future, mobile operators will begin bringing 5G into the equation; and there again, Cisco will meet their core network needs with further innovations, such as Control User Plane Separation (CUPS), cloud-native, and 5G mobile packet core functions.
As a result being the go-to partner in the industry for mobile packet core since inception, Cisco has achieved a very enviable market position. In their most recent assessment of the mobile data core market, ACG Research reported that Cisco is the market share leader for evolved packet core at 51.6%. This isn’t just your garden-variety number one position either, it’s a dominant position representative of a partner that does it and does it right. In fact, Cisco outpaces its nearest competitor by 30.1 percentage points.
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