We all know that 5G development is rapidly proceeding, and will likely start being a thing within the next two years or so. Meanwhile, developments are continuing rapidly in both network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). A recent development at an event at the KT Technology and Convergence Center, meanwhile, is set to bring together three major names in communications technology to drive development on all these fronts.
The names in question, meanwhile, are KT—formerly Korea Telecom—along with AT&T and Verizon. While there haven't been a lot of details on the partnership arrangement so far, reports suggest that the three will be working toward advancements in the aforementioned areas. That's actually part of a larger plan previously noted by AT&T, in which it was slated to work with a range of communications providers from China Mobile to Deutsche Telekom to Samsung and beyond.
AT&T has also been seen frantically working to push out NFV and related functions; by the end of 2016, AT&T had put NFV to work for around a third of its network functions at 34 percent, and by the end of 2017, is expected to up that number to 55 percent. By 2020, it expects to have three out of every four functions virtualized. Meanwhile, KT is also expecting commercial rollout of 5G services by 2019.
There's a particular reason to work with KT on this; 5G trial services are expected to be on hand for the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang in South Korea. While 5G trial bubbles have gone on before, this is a particularly aggressive step given the sheer number of people who will turn out for an Olympic event.
By extension, KT has also been seen working extensively with Verizon, so bringing the three together is a reasonable enough move. It's particularly reasonable, in fact, given the pace of development that's going to have to take place. While we've heard word about AT&T's attempt to get ready for a kind of 5G which isn't exactly 5G, the problem is that a lot of 5G is still a bit up in the air. Still, attempts made now to get the systems ready for prime time will likely pay off going forward, particularly as companies like AT&T and Verizon start laying the groundwork for an upcoming 5G release.
It's a release that can't arrive soon enough for the end users, who are all looking forward to faster speeds and greater bandwidth. Not to mention all the rural dwellers who are hoping to access fiber-quality speeds for what may be the first time ever, and that's just the start of what 5G, NFV, and SDN can provide.
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