Prediction: Virtualization Will Be Major Theme for Telecom in 2016

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 with 1 comment

Pull up a chair and block off some time to read all about what is likely to happen in the telecom industry during the New Year! The prognosticators have dusted off their crystal balls and are in full swing getting out 2016 predictions before December's hourglass runs out. Among them: RCR Wireless News, which recently published its "2016 Predictions: VoLTE, VoWiFi, 5G, IOT, Hiring Trends and more" report. 

Virtualization is one of the major themes in RCR's report, which notes that over the past two years, NFV, SDN, and cloud has crept into the telecom world, to the point where now the writing is on the wall: carriers must adopt it because traditional proprietary equipment is going extinct. (Already has in the data center world, actually.)

While most carriers are still in the network trial phase of virtualization, some have begun to control some elements of their commercial services using virtualization platforms.

RCR noted that AT&T, for example, plans to have 5% of its network operations controlled by virtualization platforms by end of 2015, part of a larger goal to reach 75% virtualization control by 2020. Granted, most of its initial efforts are low-hanging fruit, but that’s to be expected in the early days. Likely 2016 will bring some higher-level virtualization projects for the carrier.

It remains a struggle for telecom operators to evolve their internal operations departments so adopting virtualization is possible. It does help, though, that SDN has evolved over the past few months, with some ‘lighter’ deployments entering the market
employing overlay strategies rather than requiring involved network overhauls. 

Other key 2016 predictions from the report:

  • Interoperability will be a major focus as VoLTE, VoWiFi, SDN/NFV, and other technologies continue to mature.
  • LTE-U and the first formal 5G standards will be among new technologies to emerge.
  • Telecom workers involved with building and maintaining wireless networks and IoT will have the most job security.
  • Major regulatory influences will include the U.S. Presidential election, the 600 MHz spectrum auction, and carriers figuring out how to play by net neutrality rules.

How do you see 2016 unfolding for the telecom industry? Add your voice to the conversation by dropping a comment below. 

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