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Operators: Cloud & Virtualization Are Biggest Opportunities, But Immediate Focus Is On Monetization & Traffic Optimization

Cloud technology and network virtualization will be the biggest disruptors, and paramount investment priorities, in the telecoms sector over the next five years. But technology immaturity is delaying telecom cloud deployment decisions. In the meantime, carrier investment is directed toward network traffic optimization and service monetization to deal with the pressing issues of increasing mobile data traffic and cannibalization of operator service revenues. These were the key findings of a global operator survey commissioned by Radisys® Corporation (NASDAQ: RSYS) and undertaken by wireless analysts Senza Fili Consulting prior to Mobile World Congress 2013.

Also anticipated to be the hottest topic at this year’s MWC, cloud technology and network function virtualization are solutions that every operator respondent in the survey said they were committed to rolling out, with 60 percent looking to deploy cloud technology in the next 12 months, and all respondents within four years. Despite this high level of commitment, and surety that cloud technology will bring benefits from flexibility and capex savings, uncertainty remains over which “type” of cloud technology is the most appropriate (public, private, hybrid etc. for central office). More than 75 percent of respondents cited lack of solution maturity in delaying deployment decisions, and nearly a third of respondents said they are still evaluating options.

“The results of our operator survey clearly demonstrate that mobile operators overwhelmingly see the value in cloud technology and the economies of scale that can be achieved through network function virtualization,” said Manish Singh, CTO of Radisys. “However, not all network functions are equally suited for virtualization and workload consolidation. There is still confusion from operators on how best to deliver their cloud vision and how mature the technology is. This is why carriers are taking time to weigh up their options.”

Despite the uncertainty, more than half of those that have decided on an actual deployment solution have all opted to use virtualized ATCA platforms to deliver their cloud technology vision. An ATCA platform allays all fears over cloud technology maturity as it is already standardized to carrier grade levels. Not only can it deliver all the standard requirements for a telecom network but an ATCA platform also enables an operator to rapidly increase the time in which they can virtualize their network functions and lower the investment risks of transitioning to a cloud technology based architecture.

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