We are seeing more and more Mobile Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) being deployed in commercial networks around the world. The recent case with XL Axiata in Indonesia (XL Axiata teams up with Cisco to launch Indonesia’s first 4G LTE network with Virtualized Packet Core), is one of the first to support what I would call a “vertical” use case, i.e. full EPC functionality for all existing Mobile services.
Up until recently the Early Adoption of Virtual Packet Core has been for “horizontal” use cases, for a specific function and service. For example for M2M gateways, private or enterprise services, or for MVNO gateways. In a way these are additional network slices which have been deployed for a new service. A business case based on new revenue or faster time-to-market.
Virtual Packet Core Business Drivers
In the case of XL Axiata though, it is a migration of existing services to a new virtualized core. This vertical use-case is about creating a new environment with a lower total cost of ownership. This is significant as it represents recognition that NFV technologies are moving from niche application to majority adoption; in effect “crossing the chasm”, aka the Moore model for technology adoptions (see figure below).
VPC Crossing the chasm model, by Geoffrey A. Moore
In the next few months we will see other Service Providers becoming part of the “Early Majority” in NFV, with mainstream adoption by the end of the year.
I’m looking forward to providing the latest updates on Mobile Virtualization at the upcoming MWC Shanghai event. See you there.