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Carriers to Spend $18B on NFV, SDN by End of 2020

By Paula Bernier January 24, 2017

Service providers’ network functions virtualization and software-defined networking investments are poised to see a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent between last year and 2020, according to new research from ReportsnReports. Given these are relatively new markets, CAGR numbers may not seem very meaningful. However, what is noteworthy in these new forecasts is that the research firm believes CSP spending on NFV and SDN will account for more than $18 billion by the end of 2020.

The “SDN, NFV & Network Virtualization Ecosystem Market: 2016 - 2030 - Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report also says that right now EPC/mobile core, IMS and policy control platforms, and virtualized CPE, represent nearly 70 percent of virtual network function software investment.

It estimates nearly 80 percent of all new evolved packet core investments will be virtualized by 2020. “Due to the software-oriented nature of mobile core functions, the EPC has emerged as one of the most feasible examples for demonstrating the benefits of NFV in a mobile operator network,” says ReportsnReports. “Several operators, including NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom and AT&T, are already running live traffic and services over vEPC platforms.”

ReportsnReports also suggests that orchestration platform investments will surpass $1.6 billion by the end of 2020. And that, it adds, will represent almost 10 percent of service provider NFV and SDN spending.

According to a recent Current Analysis report, Netcracker Technology is the leader in the NFV orchestration space right now, although the research and consulting firm calls the vendor’s platform in this arena “dautingly complex.” Others in this space include ADVA, AMDOCS, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Gigaspaces, HPE, Huawei, Nokia, Oracle, Rift.IO, and ZTE.

Meanwhile, in other recent news from, the company came out with new research about the global data center fabric market. It says this space will be worth more than $9 billion in 2018. Network virtualization is part of the discussion here as well.

Edited by Alicia Young

Executive Editor, TMC

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