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Cellco Mtel Affirms vEPC Trial Went Well

By Paula Bernier June 19, 2014

Bulgarian mobile service provider Mtel has deemed its trial of Affirmed Networks’ virtualized evolved packet core solution a success. A Telekom Austria Group subsidiary, Mtel services more than 4.2 million customers.

“We are absolutely confident that the NFV technology is a defining trend in the mobile industry,” said Gunther Ottendorfer, chief technical officer of Telekom Austria Group. “We are therefore very pleased with Mtel’s initiative to explore and implement NFV. The success and efficiency goes along with years of innovation strategy at Mtel. For Telekom Austria Group, this is just the beginning of a journey to explore the latest technologies and further improve services for our customers, performance, experience, or availability,.”

The Affirmed Mobile Content Cloud, as the supplier’s vEPC solution is known, includes 4G gateways, policy control and enforcement functions, scaling, MPLS-based VPN, and other capabilities.

ABI Research in January 2013 talked about how cloud computing, virtualization, and SDN would soon bring better performance and flexibility to mobile broadband evolved packet cores. The firm at the time forecast the virtualized EPC space would be a market worth $400 million by 2018, representing up to a third of the overall EPC opportunity.

“Operators are of course looking to displace the expensive big iron from their supply chain,” ABI Research analyst Joe Hoffman said at the time. “When the time is right, and the technology proven as low risk, operators will capture additional benefits beyond the low-cost hardware, such as dynamic allocation and reuse of virtualized assets and streamlined service and feature development.”

In May of last year, ABI Research put out an assessment noting that Ericsson is the leader and Huawei comes in No. 2 in the EPC space. The firm gave Alcatel-Lucent venture Nuage Networks top marks for NFV/SDN innovation on the EPC front, with Huawei getting second place again in this category. 

“These hyper-competitive vendors differentiate in many ways, making for well-structured marketing strategies but face a challenging shopping comparison,” said Hoffman. “Performance advantage is temporary and comes with the most recent technology refresh, so we see Ericsson and Huawei struggling to best each other, while Cisco and Nokia Siemens are unrelenting and quickly advance when the others stumble.”

Want to hear more benefits and opportunities that Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offer?  Software Telco Congress, held August 12-14, 2014, at The Rio in Las Vegas.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

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